[A version of this abstract appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT) Volume 1 Issue 8 March 2011].
A new “dementia map” of the UK has brought to light wide variations and discrepancies in the number of people diagnosed as suffering from the disease, compared to previously established rates for the actual prevalence of dementia. Dorset has the lowest rates of diagnosis, where it is estimated that only 26% are recognised as suffering from dementia. In Belfast, by contrast, this figure is a more respectable 69%.
This online map of dementia prevalence and diagnosis rates has been produced by The Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Scotland with the help of funding from Tesco. An accompanying report suggests that over half a million people could be living with dementia which remains undiagnosed if current trends continue until 2021.
It is important to realise that people with dementia who don’t receive a diagnosis may be unable to access the support they need or to make suitable adjustments to their lifestyles. Many people may be left struggling to cope with this illness unassisted. This study attempts to raise public awareness of the problem. Care Services Minister Paul Burstow says:
“With our ageing population and the high number of people who never receive a diagnosis for their dementia, the need for raising awareness and encouraging people to seek help has never been greater.”
Hughes, Dominic (2011). New map shows undiagnosed dementia cases across UK. BBC News Health, March 1st 2011.
Click here to view the online map. The accompanying full-text statistical report is cited below:
Mapping the Dementia Gap: Study produced by Tesco, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Scotland. London: The Alzheimer’s Society, March 1st 2011.