This year's Future of Ageing Conference will play host to 10 different panel debates covering everything from automating care, ageism, innovation in housing and the end of life.

Eventbrite - The Future of Ageing Conference 2017:  Transforming Tomorrow Today

Confirmed workshops and confirmed speakers include:

Opening Keynote: Dr Pol Vandenbroucke, Vice President Medical Strategy, Pfizer

How can we maximise the economic contribution of older people?

  • Diane Kenwood, Editor, Woman's Weekly and ILC-UK Trustee
  • John McTernan, Senior Vice President, PSB and Former Political Secretary to Prime Minister Tony Blair
  • Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive, Anchor
  • Professor Debora Price, President, British Society of Gerontology and Director, MICRA
  • Professor Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics, London Business School

Is the Future less or more ageist?

  • Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, Fawcett Society
  • Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Member of Parliament for Barking, discussing 'How to stop wasting women's talents: overcoming our fixation with youth'
  • Yasmin Boudiaf, Virtual Reality Expert, discussing 'Can we use Virtual Reality to tackle ageism?'
  • Tessa Harding, Ex-NCVO and Help the Aged

Can technology drive innovation in pensions, health and care?

  • Alison Martin, Global Head of Life and Health, Swiss Re
  • Other speakers to be confirmed

Is antimicrobial resistance a threat to longevity - and what can we do about it? 

  • Mark Chataway, Managing Director, Hyderus
  • Professor Anthony Scott, Director, The Vaccine Centre, LSHTM
  • Professor Alan Johnson, Head of AMR, Public Health England's Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control

How can we save the NHS?

  • Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Chair, NHS Confederation and former Health Secretary
  • Dr David Oliver, Clinical Vice President, Royal College of Physicians
  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Pamela Spence, Partner, Global Life Sciences Industry Leader, EY

More inequalities in a world of austerity? 

  • Anna Dixon, Chief Executive, Centre for Ageing Better
  • Inequalities in Life Expectancy: Andrew Gaches, Head of Longevity, Life and Financial Services, Hymans Robertson
  • Inequalities in Old Age: Professor Thomas Scharf, Professor of Social Gerontology, Newcastle University
  • Austerity and Health Across Europe: Ben Franklin, Head of Economics of Ageing, International Longevity Centre - UK

Filling the skills gap: Migration, more older workers, or both?

  • Yvonne Sonsino, Partner and Innovation Leader, Mercer and Co-Chair DWP Fuller Working Lives Business Strategy Group
  • Professor Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, King's College London
  • Dean Hochlaf, Assistant Economist, International Longevity Centre - UK

Can we automate care?

  • George Holley-Moore, Research and Policy Manager, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Eric Kihlstrom, Co-Founder, KareInn
  • Pamela Spence, Partner, Global Life Sciences Industry Leader, EY

How can the housing industry innovate for tomorrow's older consumers?

  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Nigel Howell, Chief Executive, FirstPort
  • Gary Day, Land and Planning Director, McCarthy and Stone
  • Lord Best, Co-Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People

The future of the end: Living forever or dying in style?

  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Professor Douglas Davies FBA, Professor of the Study of Religion, Durham University, and Director of the Centre for Death and Life Studies
  • Louise Winter, Founder, Poetic Endings
  • Dave Eaton, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, International Longevity Centre - UK

Closing Keynote: Professor Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics, London Business School and author of 'The 100 year life'.

Eventbrite - The Future of Ageing Conference 2017:  Transforming Tomorrow Today

There will also be a number of keynote presentations, and an open slot to allow one delegate to present their idea to help society prepare for the future of ageing.

Join us at #FutureofAgeing
For more information click here:

Future of Ageing 2017: Sponsored by:

Supported by:

The Rt Hon. Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the NHS Confederation and former Secretary of State for Health and former Chair of the Health Select Committee, and Dwayne Johnson, Director of Adult Social Care, Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council have agreed to join our fantastic list of speakers at the Future of Ageing conference.

Dr Margaret McCartney, GP, author and regular contributor on Radio 4’s Inside Health, will also present at the conference. Dr Islene Araujo de Carvalho of the Department of Ageing and Life Course at the World Health Organisation will also focus on health and care issues, taking a more global perspective.

Conference attendees will also hear from:

  • John Cridland CBE, Head of the Independent State Pension Age Review
  • John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, UK Statistics Authority
  • Professor Sarah Harper, Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
  • Linda Woodall, Director of Life Insurance and Financial Advice, and sponsor of the Ageing Population project, Financial Conduct Authority
  • Jonathan Stevens, Senior Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP
  • David Sinclair, Director, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • The Rt Hon. the Lord Carey of Clifton, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2001

Join as at the Future of Ageing Conference on Wednesday, 9th November. Our Earlybird prices must end on 31st August, so sign up now to take advantage of this special discounted rate.


  • Think tank urges continued focus on preventing ill health as research highlights that ill health and inactivity is not inevitable.
  • Age UK announce plans for annual “Greengross Lecture”

A new factpack published today by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) (1) illustrates the realities of living to 80 for the 367,000 people reaching the milestone age this year.

Inspired by ILC-UK Chief Executive and founder, Baroness Sally Greengross, who turned 80 on the 29th of June this year, 80 at Eighty (2) gives 80 facts about life in your 9th decade.

Across the world, the number of people aged 80 plus has increased from 15 million (1950) to 110 million (2011). By 2050 the number aged over 80 is estimated to reach 400 million.

This factpack incorporates new analysis by ILC-UK of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing by ILC-UK. 80 at Eighty reveals:

Many English 80 year olds remain very active…

  • In England over 16,000 people aged 80+ are still in paid employment.
  • People aged 80+ may be more satisfied with their sex lives, as 67.9% report the frequency to be about right, in contrast to 54.5% of those aged 50-64.
  • More than half (55%) of men aged 80+ are married (or in a civil partnership) vs. 21% of women.

But health problems are common…

  • Around 16% of those aged 80-84 have already survived a heart attack.
  • 49% of women and 38% of men aged 80+ are often troubled with physical pain.
  • 50.8% of men and 56.7% of women aged 80 and over report having a limiting long standing illness.
  • Over one in ten of those aged 80-84 have some kind of dementia

Alongside Baroness Greengross, Julie Andrews, the Dalai Lama, Woody Allen and Norman Foster turn 80 this year. Elvis would have been 80 this year.

80 at Eighty was launched at a reception hosted by Age UK this week. During the reception, Age UK announced plans for the introduction of an annual “Greengross” lecture.

Baroness Altmann CBE, Minister of State for Pensions said
“I welcome this year’s edition of the Factpack, building as it does on the high quality research that has been the hallmark of ILC UK’s work over a number of years. In common with much of ILC UK’s research, this usefully highlights the importance of addressing the challenges and opportunities of our ageing society. Improving quality of later life is an important goal which can benefit increasing numbers of people.”

Baroness Greengross, ILC-UK Chief Executive said
“It is brilliant to see how many 80 year olds remain active. There were 17 runners in this year’s London Marathon aged over 80.  But 80 at Eighty also highlights the day to day challenges faced by too many people into their 80s and beyond.
The priority for me, as I pass my own 80th birthday, is to focus policy effort on ensuring more and more 80 year olds are healthier longer. Growing numbers of people aged into their 80s and 90s is great news, particularly if we can better prevent the multiple illnesses that can destroy wellbeing in later life.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director for Age UK said:
“It is fantastic that there are more over-80s in our society than ever before and that this age group is increasing more quickly than any other.

"Growing numbers of these people are making significant contributions to their families and communities - indeed to our country - and in the process they are dismantling ageist stereotypes about what it is to be 'old'.

"No one epitomises this better than Baroness Sally Greengross, who has had a long and distinguished career supporting older people that she shows no sign of giving up, and who herself is joining the over-80s club this year.

"Age UK is therefore delighted to announce that from 2016 we will host an annual Greengross Lecture in Sally's honour. Our intention is that the Lecture will champion later life and the person or people who have made a really big difference to it that year - a fitting tribute we hope to all that Sally has done and continues to do."

Researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Southampton University, Newcastle University, Sussex University and the ILC-UK are carrying out a 4-year study that will project needs, supports and costs to help plan good, affordable dementia care up to 2040.

The MODEM project (Modelling outcome and cost impacts of interventions for dementia), funded by the NIHR and ESRC under their “Improving Dementia Care” funding initiative, aims to generate new evidence to inform policy and practice to better meet needs, promote health and wellbeing of people with affected by dementia and their carers, and achieve efficiency in the use of society’s resources.

Electrical Safety First is urging the Government to put an end to poor quality housing after its report, released today, concludes that one million people aged over 75 currently live in non-decent homes.

The report, A Shock to the System: Electrical Safety in an Ageing Society, reveals that the current housing stock is putting vulnerable people at risk, and is not fit to allow people to age safely in their own homes, with those living in low-income households or in rural areas most affected. A lack of new builds combined with an ageing population means this situation will worsen unless urgent action is taken.

Housing is classed as non-decent if it fails to meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard, and means they are not warm enough, are in a state of disrepair or do not have modern facilities. Poor electrical safety is a particular concern - nearly two thirds of households with a couple over 60 do not meet basic electrical safety standards , which include having such life-saving devices such as a modern fusebox, residual current device, circuit breakers and PVC wiring.

The report reveals serious concerns about the electrical safety of older people. More than 350,000 people are seriously injured by electricity every year and older adults are more likely to be affected - a person over 60 is ten times more likely to die in a fire than someone one aged 17 to 24.

The Charity explains how older people are disproportionately at risk because they are living in their properties for longer, meaning there is a longer time between comprehensive checks and the electrical installations and appliances also tend to be older; 42% of householders who have lived in their property for 30 or more years live in non-decent accommodation .

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, said: “The Government has a duty to ensure that no-one is living in unsafe housing, and yet a million over 75s live in housing deemed non-decent by their own standards. A shortage of new builds means that housing stock will continue to age, electrics will continue to deteriorate and vulnerable people will continue to be put at risk. Most people want to stay in their home as long as possible, but for this to happen we need central and local governments to act and ensure elderly people can maintain their independence by living in safe and decent houses.”

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre, who authored the report on behalf of Electrical Safety First, said: “As our population ages we are witnessing more older people living independently at home. It is therefore vital that every effort should be made to make the home environment as safe as possible.  Our Inquiry found however, that too many older people live in poor housing conditions potentially putting them at risk of electrical harm. At the same time, growing numbers of people with dementia need to be confident that their homes, which should be as hazard-free as possible. We know there are 1 million older people living in non-decent homes; there now needs to be a concerted effort from central government and local authorities to rectify this”.

The report also notes that there are other barriers to older people being electrically safe, which include a fear of letting strangers into their homes to carry out essential maintenance work, the costs of hiring  tradespeople and social isolation – all of which mean hazards may go unnoticed. Dementia can also increase safety risks as memory problems and confusion can mean electrical appliances are used unsafely.

To address these issues, Electrical Safety First has produced a free leaflet which includes tips and advice for anyone concerned about safety in their own home or that of a relative/friend. The Charity also says that a number of safety issues can be identified and addressed through a simple visual check of a home and has produced a free smartphone app to carry out these checks. For more information, to download the booklet or access the app, visit


The social stigma which surrounds dementia is impeding early diagnosis, care and research into the disease, according to a new report by thr ILC-UK

The report, New perspectives and approaches to understanding dementia and stigma, published by the think tank International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) in collaboration with the MRC, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society and supported by the drug company Pfizer, shines a light on the impact the fear around dementia has on those living with the condition, their families and carers, which prevents the research community capturing a full picture of the disease.

According to data in the report, people over the age of 55 fear being diagnosed with dementia more than any other condition and at least 1 in 4 people hide their diagnosis, citing stigma as the reason.

Professor Hugh Perry, Chair of the MRC’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Board, said:

“This report provided a unique opportunity to focus on a little-researched area that has a major impact within society. We wanted to highlight what may not be widely realised - that stigma exists and that the evidence shows it is likely to worsen a person’s symptoms and quality of life through loneliness and rejection. If people are too frightened to address early signs of dementia, we can’t possibly get a full picture of the disease from a research perspective, to understand how the disease first develops and how it varies from person to person. It’s clear that more needs to be done to understand the roots and causes of dementia and stamp out social stigma– the same way that stigma surrounding Cancer and HIV has been all but eradicated.”

Sally-Marie Bamford, Director of Research and Strategy International Centre for Longevity UK (ILC-UK) said:

"The ILC-UK are delighted to be launching this Compendium with the Medical Research Council, Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research, supported by Pfizer. This piece of work sheds a valuable light on the causes and origins of stigma and dementia and we hope by working together we can start to move forward and help reduce the everyday discrimination and inequalities so many people with dementia and their carers face."

Dr Matthew Norton, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We are pleased to have contributed to this report, which sheds light on the stigma that still surrounds dementia and the impact this can have on those affected. Despite the far-reaching effects of dementia on individuals and society as a whole, there is still a lack of public awareness and understanding of the condition. Greater awareness could help lift the stigma that is too often still attached to dementia, and research has a role to play in helping people understand the condition. Dementia is not inevitable, but is caused by diseases, and continued investment in research, such as that from the MRC’s Dementias Platform and Alzheimer’s Research UK’s defeat dementia campaign, is vital if we are to beat those diseases.”

George McNamara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Society said:

”Too often people with dementia tell us that since their diagnosis they’ve faced an unacceptable level of stigma and in some cases lost friends and social networks. This wouldn’t happen if you had a disease like cancer and is a totally unacceptable, yet avoidable situation that people with dementia have to face.

“We’ve come a long way in terms of raising awareness but we still need to do more as a society to banish the stigma surrounding dementia once and for all. Beating dementia won’t just happen in a lab. By next year 850,000 people in the UK will have dementia. If we’re going to tackle the condition we also need to make the society we live in more dementia friendly. We’re doing this by creating dementia friendly communities that have the know-how to help and recruiting a million Dementia Friends. Work such as this is a key part of the fight against dementia.”

A Provocation launched today explores potential savings to the state if we were able to intervene successfully on the risk factors that cause dementia- these include physical activity, smoking, obesity and depression.

The International Longevity Centre–UK – the leading think tank on ageing and longevity – with Improving Care have modelled the impact of matching best practice interventions from global case studies on reducing six risk factors for dementia.

We estimate that over a 27 year period (2013-2040) this could prevent nearly 3 million people developing dementia in the UK – and would reduce the costs to the state in the UK by £42.9 billion between now and 2040 (minus any associated costs of intervention).

For example, if we managed to successfully reduce depression by 22.5% by 2040 (best practice intervention) this could prevent 22,000 people developing dementia and save the state £308million. Similarly if we managed to reduce type 2 diabetes by 58% through intensive lifestyle interventions, through weight reduction and exercise, we could potentially prevent 40,000 people developing dementia by 2040 and save the state £560million.

This Provocation links to the key messages of a study published in the Lancet Neurology today that argues one in three cases of dementia could be avoided by changes in lifestyle.

Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the ILC-UK and Chair of the Commission, said

“As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia, and Chief Executive of ILC-UK, I am pleased that we are finally developing a credible evidence base to make the case for prevention and risk reduction for dementia. So few people are aware that there are actually lifestyle decisions you can make which could reduce your risk of dementia, such as stopping smoking, physical activity and a healthy diet.

With no cure for dementia, we need to do everything we can to reduce our lifetime risk of dementia and we need to make sure that people understand that dementia need not be an inevitable part of ageing, we can all help ourselves by looking after our heart health and in turn this should improve our brain health.”

This provocation aims to demonstrate what could be possible if we do try to tackle our lifestyle factors and when it comes to dementia arguably every number of cases which can be prevented must count.

Kieran Brett, one of the authors of the report, said:

“The priority that the Government has given to finding a cure for dementia is to be welcomed. This report today shows that alongside finding a cure, we can also develop a strong, evidence-based prevention strategy which will alleviate suffering and save £42.9 billion pounds by 2040.”

Dr Matt Norton, Head of Policy for Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:

“The research evidence on reducing the risk of developing some forms of dementia is growing. The recent Blackfriars Consensus Statement, signed by experts in the field including Alzheimer’s Research UK, has paved the way for dementia risk reduction to form part of our approach to public health. Now is the time to start championing the message that ‘what is good for the heart is good for the brain’ and this analysis from Improving Care and the ILC hints at what could be achieved. The potential impact is great, but we need further research to understand just how far we can go in preventing dementia and to help people take control of their own risk.”

ILC Global Alliance calls for a global response to dementia

The projected global increase in the incidence of dementia, from 35.6 million cases in 2010 to 115.4 million by 2050[1], requires an urgent and comprehensive global response, according to a consortium of international organisations.

The International Longevity Centre Global Alliance, [an international consortium of 12 organisations] made up of 12 centres, has today published the “Cape Town Declaration on Dementia”.

The Declaration, which takes a human rights based approach to dementia, proposes a broad range of strategies in the form of 12 recommendations. The underlying message of the declaration is that all levels of governments should unite, alongside civil society, academia, communities and individuals, to enhance and expand care responses to dementia, and promote and protect the rights of persons with dementia and their carers by:

  1. Engaging in a multidisciplinary dialogue to establish a common framework of standards for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dementia;
  2. Developing and implementing intergovernmental and national integrated policies and plans of action dedicated to dementia, as well as comprehensive policies and plans of action on ageing which incorporate dementia;
  3. Supporting increased funding by governmental and non-governmental sources of research on all aspects of dementia and associated caregiving;
  4. Urging pharmaceutical companies to develop and supply affordable dementia medications to less developed regions;
  5. Increasing the number of health care professionals trained in geriatrics, and in dementia in particular, in order to enhance dementia screening and diagnostic skills, and the provision of ongoing care;
  6. Developing awareness of and education on dementia, including measures to prevent or delay the onset of dementia and to reduce the discrimination and isolation often experienced by persons with dementia and their family members;
  7. Establishing models of care for persons with dementia which partner health care services with housing services, community based care and legal protection;
  8. Instituting measures to ensure the safety of older persons with dementia and protect them from abuse, in both domestic settings and institutional settings such as hospitals and long-term care facilities;
  9. Encouraging civil society organisations to advocate for improved dementia care and to expand care services to older persons with dementia and their caregivers;
  10. Providing support, including training and respite care services, to informal caregivers of older persons with dementia;
  11. Supporting the drafting and adoption of a United Nations convention on the human rights of older persons which would clarify those rights, create binding obligations on states, enhance accountability, and raise awareness of the issues which impact the lives of older persons including those with dementia;
  12. Ensuring that all plans, strategies and programmes are developed in consultation with persons with dementia and their families and caregivers.

Monica Ferreira, co-president of the ILC Global Alliance, said “We are witnessing enormous growth in the number of older people globally. The more than 700 million older people in 2009 are expected to increase in number to reach 2 billion by 2050, with the most rapid increases occurring in developing countries. By 2050 nearly 80 per cent of the world’s older population is projected to live in less developed regions.[2] Increasing longevity means that not only will more people live longer, but more will be at risk of contracting diseases common in advanced age, such as dementia. Developing countries have other priorities and competing demands for limited healthcare resources, and will be particularly challenged in providing care and support for older citizens with dementia.

Baroness Sally Greengross, co-president of the ILC Global Alliance added: “Dementia has a devastating impact on society, families and individuals. It not only exacts a heavy cost on the individual and his/her family, but represents a significant challenge to the sustainability of economies. Global problems call for global solutions. We have a responsibility not only as citizens of our own country, but as global citizens to work together to address the challenge of dementia.

The declaration we are launching today is a starting point – a work in progress. We want to hear from our global partners across civil society and government and look forward to a dialogue about how to achieve our common goals.”

About the ILC Global Alliance

International Longevity Centre (ILC) Global Alliance is an international consortium whose members seek to understand and address the profound consequences of population ageing and increasing longevity on society and individuals.

More information about the ILC Global Alliance is available at

Notes to Editor

  • A full copy of the declaration is available on the ILC Global Alliance website at:
  • The ILC Cape Town Declaration on a Global Response to Dementia – A Call to Action (Cape Town Declaration on Dementia – short title) is a consensus outcome document of the symposium on “The Globalisation of Dementia: Issues and Responses” held in Cape Town, South Africa on October 26, 2010.
  • The Cape Town Declaration on Dementia is being published in a special issue on dementia of the International Federation on Ageing’s journal, Global Ageing: Issues & Action (available July 2011).

Follow our event in London live online today

Go to for live text and audio updates from the ILC-UK and Actuarial Profession Joint Debate: 'Future Economic, Health & Social Care Costs of Dementia' at the The Actuarial Profession as it unfolds.

Follow the debate in real time, hear key information and insights from the speakers, and add your thoughts and comments to the event through the comment box or using twitter and the hashtag #DementiaCosts.

This page will be covering live from 4pm on Tuesday 1 March, and will be available both during and after the event to read and engage with.

A report launched today by the leading Think Tank, International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) reveals that the dementia research agenda in most EU countries remains critically under-funded and under-valued.

The report, ‘The European Dementia Research Agenda’ finds there is widespread disparity in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with dementia across Europe.
It argues that research needs to be afforded a greater role in tackling Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The report suggests investment in clinical research and translational research will reap its own rewards and holds the key to improved prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

While some countries are striving forward such as Germany and France, the report found, many EU countries are trailing behind with no specifically targeted dementia research funding and/or national strategies.

With over seven million people in the EU living with dementia and with the numbers forecast to double in the next twenty years, the escalating economic, health, and social care costs necessitate fundamental changes to policy interventions for Member States and EU Institutions.

Baroness Sally Greengross, the Chief Executive of the ILC-UK said:

“The evidence shows health and social care systems across Europe will face collapse if we do not prioritise public spending on dementia now. Research needs to be at the heart of any future government initiatives.
We know the prejudice and stigma attached to dementia has not served it well in terms of the ‘public sell’. This has to change and all governments have to lead by example. In particular we need more investment in research to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment.”

The report made possible through an unrestricted grant from Pfizer, summarises the presentations, discussions and ideas which emerged from an expert working group meeting on dementia research held in the European Parliament in November 2010. It also brings together recent research on the scale, cost, national and EU responses to dementia and recent EU initiatives.

Today ILC-UK issued a Call to Action for the European Commission, the European Parliament, EU governments, and wider civil society.

Among the 13 recommendations are:

For the European Commission to:

  • Organise an annual conference on dementia research
  • Prioritise dementia research under Framework Programme 8, given the growing burden and financial, health, social and human cost of dementia across Europe
  • Develop a European Charter to increase the participation of people with dementia in clinical trials, share best practice and examine current obstacles

For the Members of the European Parliament to:

  • Support the drafting and adoption of a United Nations Convention on the Human Rights of Older People

For Governments of the Member States to:

  • Ensure parity in funding for dementia research in line with other chronic diseases and the disease burden
  • Ensure the implementation and adequate resourcing of comprehensive national strategies to address all aspects of dementia.
  • Increase the number of health care professionals trained in dementia
  • Create national centres of excellence in dementia research.

For NGOs, clinicians, industry and academia to:

  • Work with professional bodies that represent, regulate and are responsible for the training of GPs and other health care professionals to encourage more Continuing Professional Development in dementia and the exchange of best practice.

The author of the report Sally-Marie Bamford, ILC-UK Senior Researcher added:

“It is clear from listening to the delegates at the meeting that we have more in common with our European neighbours than we may think. Across the shores, politicians and policy-makers are all grappling with the thorny of problem of dementia.

While there are certainly some frontrunners in the dementia policy race, all countries need to recognise that investing in dementia research is essential. Officials in charge of the public purse need to stop thinking ‘Can we afford to do this?’, but rather ‘Can we afford not to!’.”


With 700,000 people in the UK living with dementia and with the numbers forecast to double within a generation, the report argues all European governments including the UK need to invest now for tomorrow [1].

In these tough economic times, Governments across the EU are looking at ways to slash public budgets and curtail spending. The report launched today argues that policy interventions on dementia will reap rewards of their own, particularly with regard to early diagnosis, prevention and investment in research and development.

The report, made possible by a grant from Pfizer Inc, has been published as a literature review and policy brief, entitled ‘A problem shared is a problem halved? Dementia: Learning opportunities from Europe’. The report comes at a time of growing awareness of dementia at the UK and EU level [2].

The report argues that:

  • There is still widespread disparity in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with dementia across Europe.
  • Discrimination, ignorance and prejudice of dementia is rife.
  • All EU countries will need to prioritise spending on dementia and reconcile need, want and value for the public purse in the coming years.
  • There is increasing evidence to show early diagnosis coupled with effective early interventions and services are cost effective. Not only in terms of net savings, but in terms of the positive social outcomes for the patients’ families and caregivers.
  • The identification of modifiable risk factors that prevent dementia or slow its progression must be a priority, this includes preventative factors such as a healthy diet, promoting physical and cognitive activity and controlling cardiovascular risk factors. Such investments in preventative measures would also improve general public health.
  • National Action Plans like the National Dementia Strategy launched in England in 2009 are increasingly considered to be the ‘gold standard’ of policy interventions across Europe. However dementia specific actions and programmes are not in themselves a panacea, if problems in the wider health and social care arena are not addressed.
  • There is an increasingly important role for the European Union Institutions to foster, promote and stimulate collaboration between EU Member States.

Baroness Greengross, the Chief Executive of the ILC-UK said:

Dementia is a ticking time bomb and with the number of people with dementia expected to rise significantly in the coming years, our health and social care systems will face collapse if we do not prioritise public spending on dementia now.

The prejudice and stigma attached to dementia has not served it well in terms of the ‘public sell’. This has to change and the Government has to lead by example. In particular we need more investment in research to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment. [3]”

The author of the report Sally-Marie Bamford, ILC-UK Senior Researcher added:

“There is no longer just a moral and social argument for prioritising dementia, but the economic imperative is now overwhelming - the implications for our health and social care system will be profound, if we do not address the key issues of ageing and dementia now.

Officials in charge of the public purse need to stop thinking ‘Can we afford to do this?’, but rather ‘Can we afford not to’.”


[1] In the UK, according to the Dementia UK report from King's College London and the London School of Economics (commissioned by the Alzheimer's Society) dementia currently costs the UK over £17billion per year.
Dementia costs in the UK will reach almost £35 billion within 20 years according to the King's Fund's 2008 report 'Paying the Price'.

[2] In the UK, The Government launched the National Dementia Strategy for England in February 2009 and held a Ministerial Dementia Research Summit in July 2009.

[3] The spend on dementia research is £32 million a year in the UK, which is only one eight of what the Government spends on cancer.If scientists could develop a treatment that would reduce severe cognitive impairment in older people by just 1% per year, this would cancel out all estimated increases in the long-term care costs due to our ageing population.
Source: Cognitive impairment in older people: its implications for future demand for services and costs. Adelina Comas-Herrera, Raphael Wittenberg, Linda Pickard, Martin Knapp and MRC-CFAS. PSSRU Discussion Paper
Cognitive Impairment in Older People: future demand for long-term care services and the associated costs (2007) by Adelina Comas-Herrera, Raphael Wittenberg, Linda Pickard and Martin Knapp 1728.


The International Longevity Centre UK was commissioned to write a report for the Department of Health, who jointly hosted the summit with the Medical Research Council. Over 140 leading experts from charities, industry, public bodies, universities, voluntary organisations and people with experience of living with dementia attended the event. The aim of the summit was to identify gaps in existing knowledge and prioritise new areas for research in the dementia field. Following the release of the report, Care Services Minister Phil Hope announced a new ministerial group, to drive forward research into the causes, cure and care of dementia. The group, to be chaired by Phil Hope, will focus on increasing the volume, quality and impact of dementia research and aim to help scientists in the field of dementia research have more access to existing funding.

Download a copy of the report here.


In May this year, ILC-UK conducted a study mission to Japan supported by our sister organisation, ILC-Japan, and funded by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

Two complementary research reports published today by ILC-UK have both found that physical and mental illness at younger ages can have a significant impact on employment trajectories in later life.

A new report from the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK), ‘Public health in Europe during the austerity years’, has identified early warning signs that austerity will affect health outcomes for decades to come.

Innovative new programme revealed at ILC-UK’s flagship “Future of Ageing” conference London

Older people are spending an increasing number of retirement years living in poor health, according to new research from the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK).

The International Longevity Centre - UK hosts an annual full day conference to bring together representatives from Government, business, academia and civil society to discuss the Future of Ageing.