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Hunters Law
20th November 2023

Dementia on the rise and call to action

Dementia on the rise and call to action

According to a recent article in FT Advisor, the Alzheimer’s Society believes that 209,600 people in the UK will develop dementia this year, which equates to one person being diagnosed every three minutes.

Dementia, a term encompassing various cognitive disorders (the most common of which is Alzheimer's disease), is often characterised by loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. There is as yet no cure, and the relentless progression of the condition not only affects memory but can also alter personality and seriously impact independence.

As our population ages, the prevalence of dementia is becoming a very significant challenge for society, affecting not only individuals but also placing an immense burden on families, communities, and healthcare systems.

It is likely that the rise in dementia may increase the chances of disputes among family members, because of the impact on a person's ability to put their financial and testamentary affairs in order, the distress and burden of caring for a person with dementia, and also the financial cost of care.  

Seeking professional advice and putting in place the necessary protections early when mental capacity is not in doubt that makes wishes clear in the event of a diagnosis will help minimise the impact of the often devastating news and mitigate the chances of disputes at a later date. For example, Lasting Powers of Attorney and updating or writing a Will.

Whilst families may find themselves grappling with the emotional and financial toll of caregiving, communities must adapt to the changing needs of an ageing demographic. Healthcare and social care systems face unprecedented challenges in providing adequate support and resources to those affected.

As we confront the inevitability of one person succumbing to dementia every three minutes, there is a pressing need for increased awareness, greater funding, research, and societal support. Initiatives that promote early detection and advancements in treatment are much needed, as is financial / estate planning for individuals before capacity becomes an issue.