Health & Lifestyle

One in three people with dementia will be unable to visit their loved ones at Christmas, survey finds

  •  Around 20 per cent also are no longer aware of what Christmas is

One in three people with dementia won’t be able to visit loved ones this Christmas, new figures have found.

A survey, carried out by Alzheimer’s Society, has laid bare the devastation caused by the disease, which affects around 900,000 people living in the UK.

Since 2022, a third of those with the disease are cut off and unable to visit loved ones, while one in four surveyed are no longer able to take part in any Christmas activities. A quarter no longer recognise family or friends.

Around one in five are also unable to hold a conversation with loved ones, while 43 per cent are no longer able to buy presents.

Some 20 per cent also are no longer aware of what Christmas is, family and friends reported.

The charity polled 1,108 people, who all have a close friend or family member living with dementia.

A survey, carried out by Alzheimer's Society, has laid bare the devastation caused by the disease, which affects around 900,000 people living in the UK (Stock Image)

A survey, carried out by Alzheimer’s Society, has laid bare the devastation caused by the disease, which affects around 900,000 people living in the UK (Stock Image)

From 1906 when clinical psychiatrist  Alois Alzheimer first reported a 'severe disease of the cerebral cortex' to uncovering the mechanics of the disease in the 1980s-90s to today's 'breakthrough' drug lecanemab,  scientists have spent over a century trying to grapple with the brutal disease that robs people of their cognition and independence

From 1906 when clinical psychiatrist  Alois Alzheimer first reported a ‘severe disease of the cerebral cortex’ to uncovering the mechanics of the disease in the 1980s-90s to today’s ‘breakthrough’ drug lecanemab,  scientists have spent over a century trying to grapple with the brutal disease that robs people of their cognition and independence 

Alzheimer’s Society also reported that caring for a loved one with dementia at Christmas is taking its toll on carers, with 38 per cent saying they felt more emotionally drained and a quarter said they feel more physically exhausted.

Worryingly, nearly one in 10 said they were at ‘breaking point’, and 65 per cent said dementia has ‘robbed’ them of a carefree and joyful festive season.

The charity has released the figures as it launches its Christmas Appeal, asking the public to donate so they can continue to provide support to dementia sufferers and their loved ones over the festive period.

Kate Lee, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘One in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime.

‘Christmas should be joyful but for many of the 900,000 people living with dementia and their families, their Christmases have changed forever.

‘Too many people are facing dementia alone. We want everyone affected by dementia to know that whoever you are, whatever you’re going through, you can turn to Alzheimer’s Society for help.

‘Over a quarter of carers we spoke to say the greatest Christmas gift they could receive would be talking to someone who understands.

‘Our Dementia Advisers are just a call or a click away. They can give someone the guidance, advice, and empathy they desperately need.

‘If you’re able to, please help us be there for everyone living with dementia this Christmas whatever the day brings, by donating to our Christmas Appeal.’

It is estimated that, by 2040, 1.6 million people with be living with dementia in the UK – with many millions more carers, partners, family and friends affected.

Meera Syal CBE and Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador said: ‘I know only too well the devastating impact of dementia after my father died due to the condition, and earlier this year I also lost my mother to a rare form of dementia.

‘Our family cared for our parents for over a decade and so understand how emotionally draining and physically exhausting this can be for carers. It’s devastating to know how many other people up and down the UK have reached breaking point.

‘I encourage everyone who can this festive season to donate to Alzheimer’s Society’s Christmas Appeal. You will be making a difference to the lives of thousands of people affected by dementia, and that is the greatest gift of all.’

Nicky Moorey, 67, from Somerset, has been married for 35 years to Adrian, 77, who has dementia 

She said: ‘When you see your loved one unable to participate in the festivities like they used to, it generates a feeling of great sadness and loss at a time of year that should be filled of smiles and laughter.

‘Adrian has always been the life and soul of Christmas but since he was diagnosed with Lewy Bodies Dementia in 2017, Christmas has lost its sparkle and recently his physical condition has deteriorated rapidly.

‘As a carer you end up doing everything. It’s lonely and isolating, I used to have to feed him and help him open his presents. Now he’s living in a care home, making this our first Christmas without him.

‘Christmas won’t be the same without Adrian at home. Dementia has left a massive hole in our lives which we can never replace, we all miss him and wish he was here around the table with us.

‘Dementia is very overwhelming, but we had support from a wonderful Dementia Adviser from the Alzheimer’s Society called Michael. He helped us come to terms with the situation and provided lots of resources and advice, he made a massive difference to the whole family.’


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