Dementia

We are committed to improving services for people living with dementia, their families and carers.

Dementia is a term used to describe a range of cognitive and behavioural symptoms that can include memory loss and problems with reasoning and communication. There can also be changes in personality and a reduction in a person's ability to carry out daily activities, such as shopping, washing, dressing and cooking. It is commonly combined with frailty related to old age and other long-term and complex conditions.

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

It is not known exactly what causes dementia and research in ongoing to try to find the causes and develop treatments. Dementia is a progressive and terminal condition.

Consensus on overall estimated dementia prevalence in Scotland is approximately 90,000 people currently living with dementia. Around two-thirds are living at home at any one time, with the remainder in acute or residential care. The latter accounts for at least 66% of the care home population in Scotland and growing.  

Estimated annual diagnosed dementia incidence is approximately 20,000 by 2020, with roughly the same number of people dying with dementia each year. 

We published Scotland’s third 3-year National Dementia Strategy in 2017.

The Strategy contains 21 commitments and focuses on the following major areas:

  • increasing dementia diagnosis rates
  • extending access to post-diagnostic support in line with our national commitment
  • improving integrated home care and dementia palliative and end of life care

The strategy is underpinned by two national dementia workforce programmes and a national dementia service modernisation, innovation and service redesign programme.