Anyone who knows of someone suffering from dementia will be aware of the great worry which it generates. The fear of having one's mental faculties deteriorate over time becomes something of a creeping domestic anxiety.

In recent years, that worry has become a nationwide concern. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last October detailed how the condition had overtaken cancer, heart attacks and strokes as the leading cause of death for women in England and Wales.

New research promises a future even more bleak than that current reality. A study by one Alzheimer's charity has concluded that one-third of Britons born this year are likely to develop dementia.

Similar to the picture presented by ONS data, the report, which was commissioned by Alzheimer's Research UK, suggests that dementia will have a greater and more negative impact on women than men.

The situation, claims the charity, amounts to a "looming national health crisis". It has now demanded "long-term, sustainable research funding that is proportionate to the economic and social impact of the condition". However, this is not a predicament of which those with the ability to invest in order to meet the challenge which dementia can pose now and in the future are unaware.

The Alzheimer's Research UK report coincided with a submission by 20 groups to the Treasury and called for greater funding to overcome the problems, including what was described as a "fragile" care market.

It is something of which my colleagues and I are acutely aware, given the experience we have acquired from handling a large number of care projects on behalf of both developers and operators.

Progress in such schemes has undoubtedly slowed in recent months, something which is not confined to any one part of the country but is truly a national phenomenon.

There is still the will on the part of those private companies working in the care sector to advance developments and - from the pre-application meetings with various local authorities which I've either attended or been informed of - councils understand the urgent need to increase provision too. Even so, the planning system appears unable to keep pace with demand.

I completely understand the importance of planning regulation. Without red tape, development of both a commercial or residential kind would resemble something of the Wild West.

Still, if moving schemes forward arguably takes too long now, imagine how much more acute the position will be as the number of individuals suffering from dementia grows.

There should be a means of accelerating the development process once all sides involved agreed on the merits and details of a project. It would not be speed for the sake of it; rather, it would be born out of necessity.

Perhaps the current rules and even ours view about what sort of schemes are acceptable and/or necessary have to be reconsidered so that we can have sufficient care places for those who need to be looked after.

The future dementia forecast is dire and the planning process can take some time. I am convinced that if we don't begin work now, the future - with all its consequences for finances of Government and the families of those affected - will not be too far away.