Old people with docWith the number of people living with dementia estimated to hit one million by 2020, Age UK is warning of an urgent and growing need to support those who have been told they have the condition.

Currently around 686,000 people in England are estimated to have dementia and that figure is likely to rise but there are clear signs that access to support for the growing numbers of newly diagnosed is not keeping pace. Recent studies have found 61% of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and other forms of the condition say they feel depressed or anxious largely because of a lack of support. In addition only 58% say they are living well post-diagnosis. 

Surveys show that dementia is the illness most feared by people over the age of 55, who are understandably concerned about losing their memory and identity.

Age UK and its partners around the country routinely hear of people who have been told they have dementia and then find they have nowhere to turn to for support or help in understanding how it will affect their lives day to day. It believes support is critical after diagnosis to help people come to terms with the life-changing news and to understand that it is possible to live well with dementia.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK said: "With growing numbers being diagnosed with dementia, it is more important than ever to ensure that everyone has somewhere to turn to for emotional and practical support and advice. The prospect of losing our identity and memory is very frightening. That is why it’s so important that people are given help to see that life can still be fulfilling and that a diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t live well."