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Dementia number one health concern of over-55s

Friday 18th August 2017
Losing the ability to communicate due to dementia or loneliness is a key concern for older people in the UK. Image: Highwaystarz-Photography via iStock
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Losing their memories and their ability to communicate in other ways has been ranked as the number one concern of older people in the UK.

Research carried out by Mintel found that developing a degenerative condition like dementia is a major worry among the nation's over-55s, with 56 per cent naming this their main concern, rising to 59 per cent among 65 to 74-year-olds.

As a result, this highlights the importance of people contacting their doctor as soon as they start to worry they may be developing signs of dementia. This will either help to put their worries to rest, or enable them to be referred to a specialist such as a speech therapist, who will be able to work with them to try to reduce their symptoms and keep them communicating with others.

Becoming isolated and lonely was another key concern of survey respondents, with 18 per cent admitting to worrying about this. Again, by providing speech and language therapy to older people, this is something that speech therapists can help to prevent.

Jack Duckett, senior consumer lifestyles analyst at Mintel, emphasised the importance of people seeking professional medical advice for any health-related concerns they have.

"The sense of fear which enshrouds dementia arguably poses a very real risk for consumer health, as it threatens to prevent people from becoming more informed about the condition," he explained.

"It could also mean that people delay seeking a diagnosis should they be concerned that they are experiencing potential symptoms."

Other key concerns of older people in the UK included developing illnesses aside from dementia, with 44 per cent worried about this, while 25 per cent were wary of not having enough money in later life.

In addition, 15 per cent were concerned about having their hard-earned life savings targeted by fraudsters and eight per cent were fretting about the prospect of losing their looks.

Overall, 92 per cent of over-55s had at least one concern about getting older, which highlights just how important it is for people to have access to healthcare workers and therapists who can support them through these concerns and enable them to get the best possible treatment and advice in order to keep their most-feared illnesses at bay.

Written by Martin Lambert

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