The future burden of disability in the UK

2.8 million people over 65 will need nursing and social care by 2025 – largely because of a significant rise in dementia-related disability, research finds.

Research published by the Lancet Public Health medical journal says cases of disability related to dementia will rise by 40% among people aged 65 to 84, with other forms of disability increasing by about 31%.

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The investigators used a detailed model to produce estimates of the prevalence of disability due to cardiovascular disease, dementia, and other causes in people aged 65 years or older in England and Wales to the year 2025.

They found a 25% increase from 2015 in the number of older people who will be living with disability, representing 560 000 additional elderly people in England and Wales who will need care for their disabling condition, and showed that the largest relative increases will be in dementia cases.  They also predicted that although life expectancy among people older than 65 years will increase by 1·7 years, 0·7 of these years will be lived with disability.

Having identified these challenges, the authors have recommended increased capacity in formal social care and improved support for informal social care arrangements, along with enhanced interventions against predictable risk factors for non-communicable diseases disability, such as smoking, diet, and physical activity.

Full reference: Guzman-Castillo, Maria et al. | Forecasted trends in disability and life expectancy in England and Wales up to 2025: a modelling studyThe Lancet Public Health Published online 23rd May 2017

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