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Dementia costs Welsh economy PS1.4bn a year.

Byline: Mark Smith Health correspondent

DEMENTIA costs the Welsh economy an estimated PS1.4bn every year - nearly a quarter of the health and social care spend by the Welsh Government, it has been revealed.

A report by the Alzheimer's Society, called The Hidden Cost of Dementia in Wales, claims dementia cost an estimated PS31,300 per person per year in Wales in 2013, with carers and their families shouldering about two-thirds of the total themselves.

The report will be the subject of a panel discussion, called Can Wales afford to ignore Dementia?, at the Assembly on Tuesday, July 14.

An estimated 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, and in less than 10 years, about one million people will be living with the condition.

Sue Phelps, director of Alzheimer's Society in Wales, said: "There are 45,000 people living with dementia in Wales.

"Dementia is life-changing for people living with the disease and for those who support them.

"This report found that people with dementia, carers and their families currently shoulder around two-thirds of the costs themselves.

"This amounts to PS298m for private social care, and equivalent to PS622m in providing unpaid care to people with dementia.

"Their sacrifice and support is integral to how we care for people living with dementia, however, it is not fair or sustainable that carers continue to foot the bill.

"With an ageing population, the number of people with dementia is set to grow, so too will the costs.

"There needs to be ongoing collaboration in how we approach caring for people with dementia in order for Wales to fulfil its ambition in becoming a truly dementia-friendly nation."

Sarah Rochira, Older Person's Commissioner for Wales added: "I welcome the publication of this report, as it not only makes clear the significant financial costs of dementia to the public purse, but also the personal costs faced by many individuals.

"As the number of people in Wales with dementia continues to grow, it is essential that the right support is available and that we create communities that are truly dementia-supportive so that people can live well with dementia" A nationwide online and telephone service was launched last week to help take part in dementia research - even if they don't have the condition.

Researchers say a lack of access to willing volunteers is holding back critical studies into dementia and less than 5% of people with the condition take part.

It is hoped the new campaign will speed up research in Wales by allowing people with and without it to register for studies.

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A new report by the Alzheimer's Society, called The Hidden Cost of Dementia in Wales, says the disease costs nearly a |quarter of the total spent by the Welsh Government on health and social care

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 7, 2015
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