A new dementia strategy to help people recognise the symptoms and to live with the condition is being launched by Suffolk County Council today.

The strategy aims to help people live well with the disease, as well as ending the stigma associated with the condition.

The launch of  the new strategic vision has been timed to coincide with the start of Dementia Awareness Week.

According to Alzheimer Research, the number of people with dementia was estimated to be close to one million in 2021 and by 2050, this figure is expected to rise to 1.6 million people.

In Suffolk, due to the ageing population where 23.6% of the population are 65 or older, the number of people who develop dementia is likely to be higher.

Research done by Alzheimer's Society, released today, also shows that the cost of dementia care across the east of England has now reached almost £4.3 billion a year. This could more than double by 2040 unless action is taken.

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Beccy HopfenspergerCllr Beccy Hopfensperger (Image: Suffolk County Council)

The county council's strategy identifies five key areas of dementia, a progressive disease, from prevention and recognition of symptoms and diagnosis, to the provision of support for individuals living with the condition so that they can live and die well.

Councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for Adult Care, said: "This new strategy will look at promoting early diagnosis, providing better information about care and treatment options, and focus on improved signposting for people of all ages with dementia, their carers and families, to help them get the support they want and need to enable them to live well with dementia within their own community.

"Together, through this strategy and action plan, we are determined through partnership working to ensure that people with dementia are always placed at the heart of their own care and get the right support to live well with dementia."

Richard Watson, deputy chief executive and director of strategy and transformation for the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, added: "Receiving a diagnosis of dementia can present many challenges to individuals, their families and loved ones.

"In Suffolk we want people to feel confident in seeking advice and support in a way that is meaningful for them.

"This strategy will help us identify our priorities across the county, and by working together with our partners we aim to enable people of all ages with dementia to feel valued and live as independently as possible in their communities without stigma, and to achieve the best possible outcomes for them and those who live with and care for them."