Dementia care costs in England will more than triple to £80bn by 2040 if today’s care and support arrangements go unchanged, a leading expert has warned.
Professor Martin Knapp at the London School of Economics and Political Science issued the warning on the back of research he conducted alongside Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, which found that the number of older people with four or more diseases will double from 2015 to 2035.
Speaking at the Westminster Health Forum’s seminar on the Next Steps for Adult Social Care in London yesterday, he said that a third of those people will have dementia, depression or non-dementia cognitive impairment.
He explained that these findings have implications for how we should consider the structure and resources for social care in the future.
“If we don’t change today’s care and support arrangements, dementia costs increase from £23bn to £80bn in the next 25 years,” he said.
“Social care needs are growing very fast and are becoming more complex, but unmet needs are growing faster because of the way the system operates.”
Knapp explained that we need to make sure that people with dementia and their carers get effective and cost-effective treatment, care and support.
He said that carers could be supported better through flexible working conditions, psychological therapy, training and educational interventions and support groups.
He also suggested a number of financing options for long-term care, such as tweaking the current tax system so that workers beyond the state pension age pay national insurance or introducing a hypothecated tax.
“This could take the form of a higher council tax precept or an earmarked supplement to income or inheritance tax,” Knapp said.