What is dementia?

Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing. It is an umbrella term that can be caused by a number of diseases which, over time, damage the brain, typically leading to deterioration in both brain and bodily health. Dementia is life-shortening and, though there are limited pharmacological interventions, there is no cure.

The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, mixed dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.

Dementia affects an estimated 90,000 people in Scotland, an estimated 3,000 of whom are under 65. We know that approximately a third of people with dementia in Scotland are in residential care; and those residents make up about 65% at least of the overall care home population.

While clinical research continues in Scotland and globally to produce medicines to slow or modify symptoms of dementia, projected estimates show a 50% increase in the number of people with dementia over 65 over the next 20 years. Some estimates suggest 1 in 3 people born today will go on to develop dementia.

Our New Dementia Strategy for Scotland: Everyone’s Story

In order to deliver on the ambitions of our dementia communities, jointly with COSLA, we  worked with people with lived experience and wider partners to deliver a new Dementia Strategy for Scotland.

The Strategy sets out the difference we want to make, prioritising how we improve delivery and impact, with a focus on enhancing community supports. This includes:

  • recognising dementia as a condition of the brain that affects the whole person, while upscaling efforts to address its mental health and wellbeing impact
  • ensuring services and supports are dementia-inclusive and create environments which enable people with dementia to live their best possible life
  • deliver equity of access to information, treatment, care and support for people living with dementia
  • uphold a person's human rights throughout their dementia journey
  • ensure people are supported by a skilled, knowledgeable and trauma-informed workforce

This is a 10 year vision for change and the strategy was developed in collaboration with people with lived experience and wider partners. It will be delivered through rolling programme of two-year delivery plans informed by key partners and lived experience voices. This first of these plans will be published in early 2024.

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