How the general election could transform dementia research

Cancer v dementia Infographic FINAL

By Samantha Benham-Hermetz | Tuesday 19 November 2019

It’s difficult to think of a time when we’ve seen more political turmoil in the UK. Next month’s general election could have major implications for dementia research. So as the country prepares to go to the polls once again, we need your help to tell would-be MPs about the importance of bringing about a life-changing dementia treatment.

Brexit is an important issue for this election, but it’s not the only topic on the agenda.

For many people, health is their top priority. And we know that dementia research is crucial for protecting the nation’s health.

That’s why we’re calling for the next government to increase investment in dementia research to transform lives, and asking you to give just five minutes of your time to help.

No solution without research

Half of us know someone affected by dementia right now. And one in three people born this year will develop the condition in their lifetime, unless we find a way to prevent and treat it. Already dementia is costing the UK economy £26bn a year, and of the country’s top causes of death, it’s the only one without a treatment to stop or slow it – making it the health crisis of our time.

There is no way to solve this crisis, and to stem the rising human and financial cost of dementia, without research.

Thanks to supporters like you, at Alzheimer’s Research UK we’re continuing to spend more on research each year. But government spending on dementia research still lags behind other diseases – especially in comparison to its economic cost. Currently, the government spends £82.5m a year on dementia research, equal to around 0.3% of the condition’s cost. Increasing that to just 1% could make breakthroughs possible.

Whoever forms our next government, they will have enormous power to transform dementia research and we’ll be calling on them to do just that. Our asks for the next government are simple:

  1. Fund more research, so that we can revolutionise our ability to diagnose diseases like Alzheimer’s earlier, and bring about new treatments sooner.
  2. Help people understand how to protect their brain health, so that we can reduce the number of people who will develop dementia in the future.
  3. Prepare the NHS for future life-changing treatments for dementia, so that it can reach the people who need it quickly.

Both the Labour and Conservative parties have recognised challenge of dementia in their manifestos and you can read our response to their pledges here. However, no party has committed to investing 1% of the annual cost of dementia into research, so we need your support to amplify our calls.

Five minutes to change lives

It only takes a few minutes to raise your voice and help us be heard.

Dementia research is not a party political issue. With a health system that’s struggling to cope with the impact of dementia, it’s an issue that affects families in every constituency. We’re asking every political party and every candidate to support our calls – and you can help us reach them.

Write to your candidates

Let your local candidates know why dementia research matters to you. Together we can make breakthroughs possible


  1. Gloria Tyler on 30th November 2019 at 3:03 pm

    We need more money spent on research to find a cure for Dementia and Alzheimer’s, my husband and I are 76 and 73….he has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and I know the future for us is bleak. .I try not to look too far ahead…what use would that be..I know what’s coming ….I have to take one day at a time…I haven’t got a future !!…

    • Susan McEldowney on 1st December 2019 at 8:12 pm

      I was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2016. We have noticed memory changes but I am not much worse than when I had the diagnosis. I have never had a good memory. Eg. I studied hard for Alevel History and Ehglish at 18. Passed them but forgot the lot quickly. I was a teacher of Art for then years. Then I was a primary supply teacher. For then years after bringing up 2 children. If I can be if help I would be keen to do that.!

      • Alzheimer's Research UK on 31st January 2020 at 1:02 pm

        Apologies for the delay in getting back to you Susan, I hope this information is useful to you.

        Alzheimer’s disease can progress at different rates. Some people do not experience new symptoms, or symptom progression for long periods of time, whilst other people find their memory loss declines more rapidly. If you notice any changes in your memory or any other symptoms it is always best to discuss these with your doctor.

        Below, I have provided the link to our information booklet on Alzheimer’s disease which explains the different symptoms people can experience and the treatments that are available.

        If you would like to get involved in dementia research we suggest signing up to Join Dementia Research which is a nationwide register for dementia studies. When you register, you provide some personal details relating to your health, location, age and so on. These details can then be viewed by approved researchers and are used to match you to studies that you are suitable for. You will then be contacted by a researcher if you are eligible to take part in a study.

        You can find out more and register with Join Dementia Research via the website: or by calling the Alzheimer’s Research UK Infoline on 0300 111 5 111 (9-5pm Monday to Friday).

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About the author

Samantha Benham-Hermetz