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Dementia care cost could soar by £38m

PUBLISHED: 11:01 08 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:24 01 August 2010

NEW research shows thousands more people a year could be affected by dementia in Suffolk in the future - costing £40m extra to care for them.

Officials say the cost of helping people suffering from the disease could rise from the current £26m a year to £64m annually in the next 18 years.

NEW research shows thousands more people a year could be affected by dementia in Suffolk in the future - costing £40m extra to care for them.

Officials say the cost of helping people suffering from the disease could rise from the current £26m a year to £64m annually in the next 18 years.

They say doing nothing is not an option and have already embarked on an action plan to help sufferers and their families cope with the onset of dementia.

Last night Suffolk Pensioners' Association called for more government funding to help projects in the county and also for more training for GPs to help them spot as early as possible signs of the disease.

The county's dementia time-bomb - the number of sufferers could increase by as much as 65pc by 2028 - is in line with national trends but slightly worse due to its higher than average older population because of people coming to the county to retire.

A report on the issue is being discussed next week by Suffolk County Council's Adult and Community Services committee.

Written by John Lambert, commissioner for adult and community services, and Alan Reynolds, area manager for the services, it says there could be as many as 19,393 people with dementia by then compared with 11,525 today.

One in five of people over 80 could suffer, according to national statistics.

The service is facing the prospect of its overall budget for care for the elderly having to rise from £89m to £213m by 2028 - a third of which will be for dementia sufferers.

Cliff Horne, chairman of Suffolk Pensioners' Association, said: “We welcome the fact that more emphasis is being placed on trying to do something about dementia.

“There is no cure and the illness - which must be terrifying for those families it strikes - is not going to go away.

“More central government funding is needed to help those with the illness and their families, the carers, and more training for the GPs to help them recognise the signs and make an early diagnosis.”

County council officials have drawn up long-term plans to tackle prevention of dementia, provide support for families through periods of crisis, helping to prevent hospital admissions where possible, training care staff in dealing with the disease, and providing respite care places.

Partnerships are being forged with organisations such as Age Concern Suffolk and the Alzheimer's Society, and work is being done with the NHS to dementia diagnosis to help families.

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