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Caring Times Christmas Lunch 2021

09 Dec 2021

The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London

Spending wisely on research

Organisations dealing with dementia often lament the relatively modest sums spent on research to combat the disease, compared with the amounts which other conditions, say cancer or heart disease, attract.

On one level it’s easy to see why; cancer and heart disease can strike any of us at almost any stage of our lives, certainly by the time we reach early middle-age. Dementia, on the other hand, with some uncommon exceptions, is an overwhelmingly age-related illness.

I’m not saying that any sort of ageism is operating; it’s just that most of us would like to live to a ripe old age with a modicum of health, and if the price of that is dying of dementia in our ninth or tenth decade, well, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof if we can keep cancer and heart disease at bay.

But some of us have such a dread of dementia that we’d rather go sooner than later. Let’s imagine that a cure for dementia, or an effective means of prevention is discovered and developed – the effects would be far-reaching indeed:

Of course the social care bill, regardless of who pays it, would be vastly reduced. Elderly people without dementia, generally, can take better care of themselves for longer so the aggregate need for elderly social care, not just dementia care, would be reduced.

Unafflicted by the scourge of dementia, people past retirement age would be able to contribute to their communities for much longer – childcare and voluntary organisations would all benefit.

The scope of the payoff is beyond the compass of this blog but yes, in my book dementia is the biggest bogey we have to beat.

The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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