Dementia impact

Why is dementia important? Part of Dementia in Suffolk (When we get ill - State of Suffolk 2021)

Why is dementia important in Suffolk?

Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia. The number of older people in Suffolk will continue to increase over the coming decades. In 2018, 23.2% (176,000) of the population of Suffolk was aged 65 or over; this will rise to 30.7% (76,187) by 2041. The number of people aged 85 or over will almost double in the same time period (to 47,760). These longer lives are a success story, but as people live longer, many more people will develop dementia and will need support.

Dementia affects the quality of life of those living with the condition and their family and friends. It is a complex condition that can cause physical, psychological, emotional, and financial stress to the person living with dementia, their family carers, and the wider community.

Although a diagnosis of dementia can be devastating, it is important to get an early diagnosis. An early diagnosis ensures people get the information and support they need and allows individuals and families to plan and make decisions about their future care, legal and financial matters.

Many people with dementia have complex needs because they also have other health conditions. 77% of patients with dementia have at least one of the following health conditions (compared to only 68% of people without dementia): hypertension, CHD, diabetes, depression, stroke or TIA, other neurological conditions (Parkinsonism, epilepsy), severe mental illness, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Hypertension is the most common comorbidity of patients with dementia. Rates for the following conditions were more than double in patients with dementia than patients without dementia: stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) (18% versus 8%), Parkinsonism (11% versus 5%), epilepsy (5% versus 1%), Severe Mental Illness (4% versus 1%) and depression (17% versus 8%).

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of deaths in England and Suffolk (12.5% of all deaths registered), although in 2019 deaths in England due to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease decreased for the first time since 2009. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is the cause of death in 16.1% of all female deaths, while ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause of death for males (13.1%).


The Alzheimer’s Society estimate the annual cost of dementia to society in the UK at £26.3 billion :

  • £4.5 billion state social care,
  • £11.6 billion unpaid care,
  • £4.3 billion health care,
  • £5.8 billion individual social care, and
  • £100 million other costs.

By reducing people’s risk of dementia, local authorities and the NHS can: