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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume IV, Wellbeing in Later Life by Cary L. Cooper, Thomas B. L. Kirkwood

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12

The Threat to Wellbeing from Cognitive Decline

Louise Robinson and Lynne Corner

Newcastle University, U.K.

We have seen in other chapters in this volume that extended life expectancy represents a major opportunity to promote and positively manage wellbeing across the life course. However, the increasing prevalence of cognitive decline, particularly due to dementia, will be a critical challenge (Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project, 2008). Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia and over the next 30 years the number of people with dementia in the United Kingdom will rise significantly (Knapp et al., 2007). There are currently 700,000 people in the United Kingdom with dementia, of whom approximately 570,000 live in England. Dementia costs the U.K. economy £17 billion a year and in the next 30 years the number of people with dementia in the United Kingdom will double to 1.4 million, with the costs trebling to over £50 billion a year (Department of Health, 2009).

Although the numbers and the costs are daunting, the impact on those with the illness and on their families is also profound. Dementia results in a progressive decline in multiple areas of function, including memory, reasoning, communication skills, and the skills needed to carry out daily activities (Department of Health, 2009). Alongside this decline, individuals may develop behavioral and psychological symptoms such as depression, psychosis, aggression, and wandering (Robinson et al., 2007). Dementia not ...

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