DementiaRoadmap

Helping primary care to support people with dementia

Dementia 2013: The hidden voice of loneliness

April 9 2013
Dementia 2013: The hidden voice of loneliness

This report, published Alzheimer’s Society, reveals that nearly two thirds (62%) of more than 250,000 people with dementia who live on their own are lonely. This compares to just 24 per cent of over 55 year olds.

Download Dementia 2013: The hidden voice of loneliness

This is the Alzheimer’s Society’s second annual report looking at the quality of life for people with dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Like Dementia 2012: A national challenge, it provides a snapshot of how well people are living with dementia, what support they are receiving, and what barriers they face to living well.

The evidence presented in Dementia 2013 shows that some progress has been made towards improving the quality of life for people with dementia and carers. Dementia has become a policy priority in England following the launch of the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia (Department of Health 2012) and has increased in prominence in Wales and Northern Ireland. Since launching last year, the ambitious challenge is beginning to see developments in the health and care field in England, while providing additional funding for research.

However, Dementia 2013 acknowledges that progress has been slow, and there is still much to be done to ensure that the policy is reflected in the experiences of people with dementia in all care settings. The report highlights that health and care for people with dementia still needs improving. In particular it focuses on the impact of loneliness and social isolation on people living with the condition, particularly for those living alone.

Key findings

  • Only 44% of people with dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have a
    diagnosis. This has increased just 3% from last year.
  • In England, the mandate from the government to the NHS Commissioning Board
    includes an objective to make measurable progress on improving the rates of timely
    diagnosis.
  • The number of inappropriate prescriptions for antipsychotic medication to people with dementia had been reduced by 52% between 2008 and 2011.
  • In England in 2013, there are 64 Dementia Adviser services. In 2012, there were 35.
  • Approaching two-thirds (61%) of people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland say
    they are living well with dementia. However, 17% said that they are not living well with dementia – the same number as chose this option last year.
  • A third (33%) of people with dementia said they lost friends following a diagnosis. In
    2012, 40% of people with dementia said they lost friends. While this is a reduction,
    there has been an increase in people not telling their friends about their diagnosis.
  • More than a third (39%) of people with dementia responding to the survey said they
    felt lonely. Only a quarter (24%) of over 55s in the general public said they have felt
    lonely in the last month.
  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) of people with dementia who live on their own said they felt lonely. Difficulties in maintaining social relationships and other features of dementia contributed to this.

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