The Dementia Challenge in Devon

Devon has one of the highest proportions in the country of older people among its population, with the number of 65 year olds with dementia expected to rise from nearly 13,000 in 2011 to over 23,000 by 2030 – a rise of almost 80 per cent.

Below highlights the demographic trends in Devon in respect of the increasing prevalence of dementia.

Dementia trends in Devon

2011

2015

2020

2025

2030

People aged 65-69 predicted to have dementia

625

731

652

700

800

People aged 70-74 predicted to have dementia

1,065

1,244

1,540

1,384

1,492

People aged 75-79 predicted to have dementia

1,863

2,051

2,440

3,028

2,752

People aged 80-84 predicted to have dementia

3,063

3,178

3,629

4,360

5,451

People aged 85-89 predicted to have dementia

3,433

3,650

4,022

4,795

5,851

People aged 90 and over predicted to have dementia

2,844

3,435

4,200

5,199

6,731

Total population aged 65 and over predicted to have dementia

12,892

14,288

16,482

19,465

23,076

Percentage increase

+ 11%

+28%

+51%

+79

Source: Projecting Older People Population Information System (POPPI)

Whilst a significant number of people with more moderate dementia are successfully cared for within their own home, or care homes that have a mixture of physically frail older people and those with other mental health problems in old age, there is evidence that people living within dementia specific care homes experience better outcomes. Such care environments are better able to support the person and their carer as the dementia progresses.

The county currently has a shortfall of specialist residential care for people with dementia and Devon County Council’s plans, which will create around 300 specialist places, will meet about half the unmet need with private sector care home owners asked to help meet the remaining demand.

The County Council has made £800,000 available each year for care home owners to develop their businesses so that they can help meet the need for specialist care. Amongst other options this will enable the private sector to re-train employees to change the type of care they offer.

In addition, the development of Centres of Excellence for dementia specific care will play a critical role in modernising the provision of long term/respite care facilities, focused on a supportive environment for the management of long term conditions. They will become a local hub for integrated assessment and response, providing services to their local communities.