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Future costs of dementia-related long-term care: exploring future scenarios

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BACKGROUND: This study explores how the views of a panel of experts on dementia would affect projected long-term care expenditure for older people with dementia in England in the year 2031. METHODS: A Delphi-style approach was used to gather the views of experts. The projections were carried out using a macro-simulation model of future demand and associated expenditure for long-term care by older people with dementia. RESULTS: The panel chose statements that suggested a small reduction in the prevalence of dementia over the next fifty years, a freeze in the numbers of people in care homes, and an increase in the qualifications and pay of care assistants who look after older people with dementia. Projections of expenditure on long-term care that seek to capture the views of the panel suggest that future expenditure on long-term care for this group will rise from 0.6% of GDP in 2002 to between 0.82% and 0.96% of GDP in 2031. This range is lower than the projected expenditure of 0.99% of GDP in 2031 obtained under a range of base case assumptions. CONCLUSIONS: This paper attempts to bridge the gap between qualitative forecasting methods and quantitative future expenditure modelling and has raised a number of important methodological issues. Incorporating the panel's views into projections of future expenditure in long-term care for people with dementia would result in projected expenditure growing more slowly than it would otherwise.

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