In Scotland in 2017, it is estimated that 93,000 people have dementia, and though most are old or very old, over 3,000 of them are under 65. By the age of ninety, people have an almost 50% chance of having dementia.
The word “dementia” describes the collection of signs that a person’s brain has permanently stopped working as well as it used to. It is “dementia” only if these signs continue to get worse, with a permanent deterioration over time. Over 100 diseases can cause changes in the brain that give rise to these symptoms. The most common is Alzheimer’s disease followed by vascular dementia.
There is currently no cure for dementia, but symptoms can be delayed or decreased by lifestyle and environmental adaptations. There is growing evidence that the risk of developing dementia can be reduced by adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Dementia costs the country more than cancer, heart disease and stroke put together. Much of that financial burden falls on family carers and friends, who may also experience tiredness and health problems associated with the demands of caring.
There are estimated to be over 650,000 unpaid carers in Scotland. This means that 1 in 8 of the Scottish population are involved in providing care and support to a family member, friend or neighbour, and many of those have dementia.
The lives of people with dementia and those who care for them are affected, both directly and indirectly, by the disease. Dementia impacts many aspects of life, for example:
- Mental Health
- Physical Health
- Social inclusion
- Income and employment
What is clearly needed is a shift in how people affected by dementia are perceived, how they are treated and how they are supported and empowered.
We want to play a significant role making sure that this support is put in place, and enabling people affected by dementia themselves to have a strong voice about matters that affect them.
We are committed to driving change in how people with dementia and their carers experience everyday life. We know how important it is to see the whole person, ensuring that he or she is central to decisions that affect their life, and we will invest our resources so that people affected by dementia are empowered to identify their needs for support and have choice and control in how these needs are met.