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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2007, 00:39 GMT
Dementia sufferers set to double
The number of dementia sufferers is set to double
Dementia costs Scotland 1.4bn and the number of people suffering from the condition will almost double in the next 25 years, experts have warned.

A report by the Alzheimer's Society estimates that the number of Scots with dementia will rise from 58,000 to 102,000 by 2131.

The charity predicts this will create a crisis in medical and social care and is calling for a national strategy.

Dementia is one of the main causes of disability in later life.

Yet though it is debilitating for more people than some forms of cancer, heart disease and stroke, much less is spent on research and provision of care for those affected - currently one in five people aged over 80, and one in 20 people over 65.

The Alzheimer's Society believes a national plan similar to those that already exist to deal with cancer, heart disease and strokes is required, along with increased research funding.

Our population is ageing - by 2031 there will be 75% more people with dementia in Scotland
Jim Jackson
Alzheimer Scotland

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "We are arguing that as a nation we are singularly failing to address a very major health and social care issue that is already costing the country a very large amount of money.

"We are quite convinced we are going to see further problems arising from the scale of this issue and from the failure to consider how best people can be supported through it."

Dementia causes memory loss, delusions, speech difficulties and mood changes and can affect people of any age but is most common in older people.

The report showed the average public spending bill per person with dementia was 25,472.

Alzheimer Scotland welcomed the report and called for dementia to be made a national priority in Scotland.

'National priority'

Jim Jackson, chief executive of the charity, said: "Our population is ageing. By 2031 there will be 75% more people with dementia in Scotland.

"We are calling on the Scottish Executive and MSPs to face up to the inevitable growing numbers of people with dementia and make dementia a national priority for health and social care policy."

Dementia care should be highlighted in the forthcoming spending review, Mr Jackson added.

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "We are developing new ways of redesigning services for people with mental health conditions, including dementia and have monitoring in place to make sure this is delivered."

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