Home » Legacy » William’s gift is helping dementia research breakthroughs
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William Walker (pictured)

Alzheimer’s Research UK Supporter

Dementia is now the UK’s leading cause of death, with no treatments to slow, stop or cure the diseases that cause it. But research has the power to change that.


Dementia is one of the greatest medical challenges of our time

Around 850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia, a number set to rise to two million by 2050. Symptoms of dementia usually include a gradual loss of memory and communication skills, and a decline in the ability to think and reason clearly. Dementia doesn’t just affect memory, it can also affect a person’s ability to walk, communicate and even swallow. Sadly, the condition ultimately takes everything away from someone: until they need round-the-clock care.

Of the top ten causes of death, dementia is the only one without a treatment to stop or slow it. However, dementia is caused by physical diseases, and through medical research, diseases can be cured.

Alzheimer’s Research UK supporter William says: “There’s a lot of research going into heart disease and cancers. But now they need to find breakthroughs for dementia too.”

In my opinion more research is needed in this field, so that our children and grandchildren don’t have to face what we did.

Like William, half of us know someone affected by dementia

In January 2019, William’s wife, Hazel, passed away at the age of 71, after living with Alzheimer’s disease for several years.

They had met at a birthday party for William, where she was actually his best friend’s date. The couple spent 52 years together, and “would have liked to have had many more.”

Hazel was a devoted mother of four with 11 grandchildren. She was very much at the heart of her large family, and even when she was living with Alzheimer’s disease, she always had a smile for her grandchildren. “She always felt that same warmth for them and wanted to see them get married”, says William. Sadly, Hazel passed away before this could happen. 

As Hazel deteriorated, it was heartbreaking for William and the rest of the family.

“In my opinion more research is needed in this field, so that our children and grandchildren don’t have to face what we did.”

With the generous support of people like William, breakthroughs are being made in dementia research to ensure that more mothers and grandmothers, like Hazel, live to see important moments like grandchildren’s weddings.

William’s legendary gift to Alzheimer’s Research UK

That’s why William’s gift is so important to Alzheimer’s Research UK. A third of their research is only possible thanks to generosity like this, helping to offer hope to future generations, in a world free from the heartbreak of dementia.

Alzheimer’s Research UK is dedicated to making life-changing breakthroughs in diagnosis, prevention, treatment and cure. They are challenging the way people think about dementia, bringing together the people and organisations who can speed up progress, and investing in research to make these breakthroughs possible.

Their research is focused on four key areas of action: understanding the diseases that cause dementia, more accurate and early diagnosis, reducing risk and finding effective treatments.

To find out more about making or updating your Will, and how you can leave a gift to charity, visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/free-wills-guide to download or request a copy of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s free guide. Alternatively, contact the Gifts in Wills team on 01223 896 606 or [email protected]

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Home » Legacy » William’s gift is helping dementia research breakthroughs
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Chris Knight

Chief Executive Officer, Legal and General Retail Retirement

The ageing population is not other people. It’s every one of us, from teenagers to centenarians. It’s the legacy of the twentieth century’s drive to improve the lives (and life expectancies) of everyone. Two generations ago the British people chose to rid themselves of the fear that came with being sick. A Doctor’s visit before the NHS could cost a big chunk of a weekly wage. Now, as we see the first generation of centenarians on the horizon, we need to combat the fear of not knowing how to pay for care or how to get care.


Five million people aged over 80

2020’s challenges are different to those of 70 years ago but our determination to overcome them is not. The ageing society is one of the great achievements of the last hundred years, but there is work to be done to build a long-term care system that by 2036 will service a country where more than five million people will be over 80.

Last year, fewer than half of the people who asked for care support got all that they needed and King’s Fund research shows that only 26% of people are satisfied with social care. 

We need to combat the fear of not knowing how to pay for care or how to get care.

Most care happens when you live at home

Research shows that older people want to stay in their own home for as long as possible, but the care system isn’t helping: the system is difficult to understand; it is hard to match need with what is available locally, and the funding process is confusing. For example, many of us imagine that long-term care is all about finding residential care. In fact, only about three per cent of over 65s live in residential and nursing care, most peoples’ care needs are met while they continue to live at home.

New technology is already helping

New technology, such as the online care comparison and matching site, Care Sourcer, is helping families to understand their options and very quickly find local care services.

As well as Care Sourcer, the Elderly Accommodation Counsel HOOP (Housing Options for Older People) platform helps people figure out whether modifying their existing home might be more efficient and suitable to their needs than moving.

Playing our part

Legal & General began its work in 1836, so we are hard-wired to think about our society and the economy over the long-term. Today’s generational challenge is to support our society as it ages and that means a national effort to create a great system of long-term care – we want to play our part in delivering it.

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