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Consultant Psychiatrist for the Elderly, Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary, Falkirk, ScotlandE
Dementia is the term used to describe a global deterioration in memory, intellect, personality and functional skills. Around 70 types of dementia have been described, but by far the commonest is Alzheimer's disease (AD), which accounts for about 60% of cases of dementia. AD is primarily a disease of ageing, affecting over 700,000 people in the UK and an estimated 24 million worldwide. One in 20 people over the age of 65 years will have dementia of some type, but this rises to 1 in 5 by the age of 80 years. Since the 1930s, the over-65 population has more than doubled, and one-fifth of today's population are now over 60. Between 1995 and 2025, those over the age of 80 will rise by 50% and the numbers of people aged 90 and over will have doubled. We are therefore looking at a growing elderly population with the very old being …