We can’t wait for a cure. We need to fix dementia care funding now

Kathryn Smith, Director of Operations at Alzheimer’s Society, explains why we are campaigning for the Government to Fix Dementia Care and what you can do to help people affected by dementia.

Right now 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK.

This includes 70% of the people living in care homes and 60% of the people receiving homecare. With few treatments available for people with dementia and no cure in sight, their needs are mainly met by social care. This is the care you get in care homes and through homecare, and not through the NHS.

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Without enough central Government funding towards care homes and homecare, people affected by dementia are being treated as second-class citizens. Families are burning through their savings to pay for dementia care, either as result of footing the huge bills all by themselves or topping up where the local authority can’t pay the full cost. Some people even have to sell their home to find the money. All because of an NHS and social care system that doesn’t give the same importance to dementia as it does to cancer or heart disease.

We’ve reached crisis point and our loved ones end up in hospital with infections and broken bones that could have been avoided by appropriate care.

So we welcome the recent focus that the Government has given to social care and the investment of £240 million announced in December. Of course any additional funding for social care is welcome. But the amount will not plug the funding gap we face. Further to this, the proposal diverts funding already committed to local authorities for another area of the New Homes Bonus reforms. The solution cannot be to take money from elsewhere. What we need is to see new central investment.

The Government also said that local authorities will now be able to raise council tax by up to 3% a year to help pay for care, without going to a local referendum, through what is called a 'precept'. However it will still not be enough or help with the disparity across the country. People with dementia living in deprived areas will still receive worse care, or not receive care at all, compared to people with dementia living in more affluent areas.

The number of people with dementia is only rising and we need a long-term solution.

 Dementia social care

Instead of passing a difficult funding issue down to local councils the government needs to find a solution that works nationally and diminishes the regional gap. We deserve affordable and good care wherever we live.

By 2025,  over 1.1 million of us will have dementia in the UK. We need a guarantee that we will have the quality care and support we might need later in life, at a fair price. This is not too much to expect.

Until the day we find a cure, people with dementia will still need help with eating, getting washed, and taking their vital medication for a range of other conditions they may also be living with. We have to unite now for our friends and family affected by this now, and all of those who undoubtedly will be in the future

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The care available for people with all kinds of dementia and alzheimers is poor in this country. Better support needs to be in place to enable sufferers to stay in their own homes for longer. Employers need to make working arrangements more flexible to allow family members to support their loved ones. Once in care homes, particularly residential care, care staff should have training in dementia both in terms of how the illness progresses, distraction techniques when residents are distressed / aggressive, alternative ways of communicating and how to understand when someone with dementia is unwell in other physical ways but unable to express it. Care workers are paid appallingly for one of the most important jobs that can be done. This results in high turnover of staff and lack of continuity for those suffering with dementia or living with it in its various stages and adds to an already stressful situation. We need to look after our elderly much better and look after the care staff that are doing a very difficult job that requires empathy and patience. You will never get commitment from staff who are paid so poorly and who have very little training. Basic training is a box ticking exercise for local authority care homes and is never enough to deal with the reality of day to day care for someone with dementia. This is an illness that will affect more and more people as time goes on and should be treated as a priority. I have been shocked by the lack of forward thinking by the Government in this area and I support anything that will help to improve things. These people are your parents, your brothers and sisters and sometimes your children. They need support, help, compassion, empathy and understanding and significantly increased funding for improved services that monitor what is actually happening in care homes. If I didn't look out for my family member in care, she would have no-one to stand up for her. She is still a person and should be treated with care and dignity by people who are paid a decent salary to do an important job.

Wholeheartedly agree ! and do you know what, careing for somebody with Dementia is a privilege. I love looking after my Mum. I have learned loads off the internet about careing - mostly, believe it or not, from Australia and India, where they appear to be leaps ahead with information and caregiving tips, and these tips and writings have given me and my Mum an extra lease of life, . It is not all plain sailing at all, but we can communicate, even tho Mum has lost her speech, you just have to look, notice the nuances and deal with whatever the problem is. since I hve been learning from the internet, things have got so much better for Mum and for us as a family.

Not much "outside" help, there is not the understanding, we have either found they want to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, or simpy do not have much of an idea, even the GP's, because they are not specifically "Dementia" trained, and you NEEEED TO BE SPECIFICALLY DEMENTIA trained to make your love'd ones life a little more bearable.

Mum is on NO medication. When she was, she didn't watn to take her medication and it was a horrible battle, now she is on NOTHING, she is massively better. I always say now, if someone prescribed something for MUM, I would take it first to see what it did to me. Specifically anti-psychotics - definately a NO NO, bu we had to learn the hard way. Also her Alz MEDS did not suit her at all and put her into a blank state, now she has nothing and she is brilliant. much much better in herself, and more able to communicate (even tho she has no words) than she ever was at the beginning!)

Sandra, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you say, having experienced poor home care; poor nursing home care, and now at last excellent nursing home care for my husband. Dreadful lack of training for care assistants in the community and in most care homes . We are so fortunate that the atmosphere the ambience and the caring attitude in the present Methodist church care home far exceeds anything I have experienced so far, but why oh why are the staff so poorly paid?

I Also had to stand up for my Mum, to ensure that she got the level of care she needed and to ensure she was wearing her own clothes and glasses!

I agree totally with you. Youngsters on their 1st job have basic training, have no idea how to properly look after a Dementia patient and just do the basics for them. My Mum is in a care home, they are good and do what they can but the interaction and keeping the patient occupied is not happening. Everyone just sits there asleep, in front of a television day after day after day. Not sure how many times she has a cheese sandwich a week due to her memory and not being able to ask for an alternative. We need something to happen. 😕

I want to write to my MP as I disagree that a young 18 year old can apply for a job with no relevant training and work with with vulnerable dementia patients, were I work they do dementia training but it is the manager just reading from a work book, I think this is so wrong and I believe care workers should be expected to do more intense training about dementia so the best care possible can be given, I work in a a 47 bedded home it has four units consisting of 1 rehabilitation unit, 1 residential unit and two dementia unit, 2 night staff for the whole building with another senior who has to do paperwork, how are they suppose to care, please can I use your blog to write to my MP

When will the Government, any party will do, actually give due attention to our elderly? This is not going to 'go away', they, too, could end up requiring this kind of care; dementia is not picky, it could be anyone! It doesn't take a huge amount of intelligence to recognise that with a growing ageing population dementia is going to grow, as well. We, as a nation, need to be prepared to take care of our elderly and this is something, in my opinion, that we have always been lax in. There is enough money going in to the pot, I feel; I wonder whether it is simply a case of so many 'financial' people simply not using the money wisely enough? Sort it out, now!

You are so right, can I add your blog to write to my local MP

My husband has Lewy body dementia and has been unwell for the past 4 years. I care for him at home and receive three hours of sitting care paid for by the local authority. We are approaching the time where I'm finding it more difficult to manage. If I put him into a nursing home the cost is £1500 per week as we have some savings. We will both be 70 this year and at present I pay for extra care at home.
I feel it's unfair that we are expected to pay the full price for his care while others get it free of charge. I'm quite prepared to pay towards the cost as fortunately my husband has a good pension but it will no way cover the costs. It's a real concern to myself and our sons.

You need to get expert help and be prepared for when your husband may need to go into care. I lived with my Mum in our home, brought and paid for. Cambridgeshire county council sent a man round to value the house and told me i had to sell it as my Mum had just gone into care. If i had not had support from a Gentleman who new all about my rights and help me fought my case, i think i would have been bullied into selling our home.

I live in Okehampton, Devon where we have a very rural community,with isolated villages and farms. At present we are fighting to keep our lovely hospital open but it seems more than likely it will be closed, as will other small hospitals in Devon. We are told by the NEW Devon Commissioning Group that care in the community is going to be much better for people and it will help to avert the crises in our main hospitals. The CCG seems not to understand how rural our area is or the fact that care in the community hardly exists and there is no proper training for carers of dementia patients. Added to this the Prime Minister denies that there is a crises in the NHS.
My sister in law has Dementia and her daughter has had to sell her home so that her mother can be cared for in a nursing home at huge cost. I myself am 83 and dread the time when I may need care so I have no hesitation in joining Alzheimers campaign.

Why can t the government cancel some of the overseas aid, ( like the millions they send to the likes of India even though they are launching space rockets which must cost millions. ) I can,t remember the name of the person in charge of overseas aid but ask her to come and see my wife who has Dementia let her see for herself where the money should be spent.
Not on her pet projects like the millions spent on dancers , she should be ashamed of herself and the Government also.
After all this is our money not some overrated Goverment department.

My wife suffers from dementia,albeit we don't need any help at the moment, no doubt help/support will be welcome at some time in the future, (if it's available). I would be
more than willing to pay extra council tax provided assurances were given that the tax
raised went to home care or the cost of care homes and was not siphoned off for other
purposes.
The small percentage of GDP which is used for Foreign Aid is still a considerable amount,
much of which appears to be wasted on totally inappropriate projects. It's time some of this money was diverted for 'home' use as the government cannot find monies from elsewhere and continually cry 'limited resources'.

My wife has dementia and we receive no home are what so ever. You ask for help to council departments . They say will help and then you up waiting and waiting but no one ever turn up. Social Services are an absolute waste of time unless you can give them money for any care help!!!

Ok thanks

People who are unfortunate enough to get dementia are second class citizens.
My mother had to use her savings and sell her home to pay for her care and was completely self-funding. We were worried about what we would do if she lived longer than her money would provide for. We felt guilty that we were relieved when she died before this became an issue. People with dementia do not choose to go into a care home for a bit of respite before returning home after an operation. They are there because their terminal, progressive brain disease has robbed them of their fundamental ability to care for themselves, such that they need 24x7monitoring and assistance to survive without harming themselves. The extra financial worries add to the mental strain on family carers, negatively impacting their health too. I believe that dementia care is not properly funded because of the numbers of people affected and the possible length of time they may need care. This just serves to increase the taboos and stigma, preventing people from seeking early diagnosis and help.We have a long way to go. I am trying to raise awareness of the plight of working dementia carers. I created a Dementia Carer Friendly Met Office and am now using my model through my business to encourage organisations to align to my Principles of a Dementia Carer Friendly Workplace. I speak at events.
Please note my website is on the verge of being relaunched very soon.

Not only care/support workers but nurses doctors and clinics they still send people in their later stages to clinics for assessments on ailments e.g. in growing toe nails pressure sores dementia people should not have the unnecessary uncomfortable trip to clinics should be the other way round and without a carer not right at all

Such an important issue which needs to be addressed urgently

Great! Let's have more of this sort of pressure on the Government to STOP funding International "Developments" - such as the Ethiopian girl's band - and re-invest the money back home where it is earned and then wasted by the Government.

I have looked after my wife for the past 8yrs since she was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. I have seen initiatives come and go in our area ( Eastbourne) but nothing that I can say really addresses the issues. Respite care in a good home is expensive and they are always full with a waiting list. I am disabled as well and this makes life harder. I no longer believe in government funding reports they just lie. I have two members of my close family who are NHS professionals in my area and they are able to advise me on my wife's problems, which helps a little

The NHS was ruined by Cameron and Osbourne so they could protect there rich friends, and this has now being carried on by May and Co.

The 0.7GDP asigned to Foreign Aid should be stopped immediately.Ithink this is £12 billion per annum.Plus I understand we have (via foreign aid) a sum of £10 billion in the world bank doing nothing for the people of this country. some £5million was granted to set up a foreign star singing group---- rapidly stopped when the press told the people.If we have excess funds as a country I would be pleased to send money abroad to desrving peoples ie not like now to fill pockets of rich politicians and similar.Governments duty is to protect its people.So is defence spending up to level??.Are our police forces adequately manned?? Is our NHS managed properly without the funds it needs??My view is NO to all these.In respect of Dementia its massive and growing effect could be to crucify our NHS/Social relationship.Whilst people are having to sell homes to pay for care of dementia it should be made clear this disease matches all potentially terminal conditions in cost

I agree having had two parents have dementia . My Mam had front love dementia and was treated my her doctor as a person with dementia and didn't go beyond when she was ill, it was well people with dementia loose weight but no she was riddled with cancer so suffered beyond belief . Dad had vascular dementia and Alzheimer's he paid to live in a home over £300 pound a week sadly died of pneumonia . I work in a hospital and more and more people are getting dementia . We need better nursing homes and people need more education in looking after these unfortunate patients . More money spent on people in prison than on our elderly

When the coalition government came to power in 2010 they promised a dedicated amount of money would be paid to local authorities to help with social care costs, the problem was there was no stipulation that this money was to be ring fenced and used only for this purpose. Thus, the money was simply swallowed up in the general budgets and nothing went to social care. I took this up with my MP at the time and his response was they couldn't be too prescriptive with the money and had to trust the local authorities to do the right thing!!!
Now here we are nearly 7 years later and certainly my local authority are screwing the amount they will pay for residential care down to the bare minimum which some may think is good practice? However in my case, my father had a house which has been sold since the death of my mother (not a mansion, an ex council property) so he is deemed to be wealthy enough to pay all his residential care costs even though he is only in care because he is mentally unable and incapable of caring for himself and he has basically been abandoned by the NHS. Many may think, so what, he has saved a small amount of money so he should spend it on his care and I might even agree with this if he were paying the same fee as residents who are being 100% funded by the local authority but he is being charged £200 a week more for exactly the same care which I find difficult to fathom. So the extra money that is going to be generated through a council tax levy, is this simply going to further subsidise the fees being paid by the local authority or is there any likelihood that people like my father may get some benefit from this?

I have worked for children and families for forty years ensuring the safe wellbeing of children.
I now find myself as a carer for my elderly father who sadly suffers with mixed dementia complicated further with other medical needs.
We are fortunate to have great wrap around medical support to meet my dads needs.
I myself recieve incredible support from a Admiral Nurse.
We may have all of this, but it doesn't take away the fact my father fought in World War Two. He worked seven days a week of his working life and he has to fund everything.
My passion is to ensure he remains at home and to preserve his dignity.
Each day is an emotional journey.
For the government members who make their policy's, I hope they never find themselves in our very sad and lonely lives that we face each day.

So much more help is needed I have two parents and a mother in law with this and they are the lucky ones as they have family son daughters grandchildren popping in checking on them making dinners checking there clothes are clean. Some people have no one no family friends no neighbors keeping a eye the government need to help now not leave it to in most cases one family member who puts there life on hold for months years as there is no one to turn to.

I feel strongly that care home carers and carers attending to give dementia people at home need training which incorporates not just personal care but on wider level to enable them to understand dealing in multiple environmental situations plus other family members , who are grossly affect emotionally, physically financially often elderly themselves and unable to cope. There are so many levels of management training required to manage. My personal experience is that if family member has to look after their relative/s with dementia and live at some distance will also face the stress of driving ,costs of fuel and additionally has long term effect on their family too. Hence there is an urgent need for funding to be put to training Dementia carer's , who are also qualified 1st Aid & healthy safety measures to deal with in peoples homes. Over Christmas I have had to deal with some elderly friends with dementia and found that the authorities were totally ignoring them with their pleas for help with their health issue and when taken to hospital they were left for whole night without being seen to and told to go home. The GP wasn't of any help either. Thank god for an understanding helpful pharmacist , who was able to give some medication but stressed that they needed to be seen by a doctor. To be treated unfairly when one has the need is not fair to these people who has given their services during the war and most kindly citizens.

MY HUSBAND HAS HAD ALZHEIMERS FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS, HE HAS HAD MINI STROKES AND NOW IS UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING FOR HIMSELF, HE CAN NO LONGER WALK AND HE HAS TO BE HOISTED FROM BED TO COMMODE TO CHAIR, IT TAKES 2 PEOPLE TO DO THIS 4 TIMES A DAY.
HE CANNOT COMMUNICATE AND JUST GARBLES NONSENSE BUT STILL APPRECIATES CARE, LOVE, ATTENTION AND FOOD AND WILL NOW AND THEN SAY THANK YOU OR I LOVE YOU TO SOMEONE WHO HAS HELPED HIM.HE WILL SOMETIMES HAVE LOUD CONVERSATIONS WITH UNSEEN PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT WHICH CAN GO ON FOR HOURS MAKING SLEEP IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYONE ELSE. BUT HE STILL DESERVES THE BEST CARE I CAN GIVE HIM AT HOME WHERE I CAN GIVE HIM PERSONAL CARE ALL DAY, WHICH HE WOULD NOT GET IN A NURSING HOME.
SO PLEASE HELP PEOPLE WHO CARE, WE NEED ALL THE HELP WE CAN GET.

Promises - Promises - Promises.

The cure will only materialise when more money is allocated to the relevant bodies. In the meantime alzheimer sufferers need care

We are not a society that values and respects the elderly . They have lived,worked, most have raised families, many do voluntary work and most endeavour to live debt free and save. Most hope to pass a little something into their children. The vast majority have never been a drain on local or national services. When they are at their most vulnerable they are basically left to fend for themselves ,sacrificing their homes to fund care. The Government saves millions when families step in to care for their parents . Soon this post -war generation will be gone and who will replace them? We will have lost part of our history that they made. We will be poorer for it. We all need to petition the government and make our voices heard.

I have cared for my mum who has vascular dementia and is not easy. Gone through sleepless nights and days my own health was at risk as I had thiorid operation at the same time. At the moment she in the nursing home which is a relief for me. The cost is to high and struggling to pay for it. I hope the government will take this into consideration and help out with the payments.

My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010 and I cared for him at home for six years until, last October, it became impossible for me to continue and he is now in residential care. The issue about funding, as mentioned here by many, is a very real concern. My husband is 77 and if he didn't have this incurable and degenerative disease we would be living a full and active retirement as most of our more fortunate family and friends are. To be told that one has to pay for care, because he is ill, feels like being told one has to pay for the privilege of suffering from dementia. Continuing Healthcare (CHC) exists for those whose primary need is health. If this is granted, the NHS pays the full health and social care costs. The person does not have to be in a Care Home, this payment can be made to those in their own home too. However, what is scandalous is that (a) this funding is kept secret (b) most social workers know very little about it and (c) it requires extreme determination and persistence to achieve. After nearly a year of persistence and perseverance I have succeeded in securing 73% NHS funding for my husband and I am continuing my battle to achieve full funding which I, and the professionals working with him, believe he should be granted. I hope that a sufficient number of MPs are brave enough to put this right and ensure that the public at large know about CHC and that families, who are weighed down with emotional and physical responsibilities of caring for someone with dementia, don't have the added burden of fighting for what should be given freely by the NHS.

It's like reading a horror story, Alzheimer's and any form of dementia is a illness just like any other. Just because it's effects mainly older people that does not give any one the right to treat them so badly. Working class people should not be treated so badly lose their homes to pay for their care. Hospital and care home staff should be specially trained in how to care in a kind and caring way. With my own mum she was treated as less than nothing, medical staff showed little understanding.

I agree wholeheartedly with Linda Abbott (comments dated 13.1.17.)about the terrible cost of Nursing home Care. My husband had a bout of hospital care last July due to a Urinary Tract Infection which, on top of his Alzheimers, left him in a worst state than when he was admitted. He was in hospital a month and during that time due to his dementia my family and I felt he had been neglected when it came to trying to rehabilitate him. We asked for rehab but were told he did not have capacity!! His condition left him doubly incontinent. There was no toilet programme for him on the ward and so he was left with an indwelling catheter and incontinence pants. All this resulted in his needing Nursing home care following hospitalisation and two nurses to look after his personal care.. The nursing home (which is a very good one) costs £5,000 per month. As you can imagine our capital is diminishing swiftly! My family and I think it is very unfair that we have to pay full costs when many people in nursing homes are being fully sponsored by the NHS or the County.
The system is very unfair to people who have tried to save money and as a consequence are left to foot a colossal bill every month. It may mean that we have to sell our home to pay nursing home fees in the long term.
Wouldn't it be fairer if people with some capital were given some help towards the cost of the homes fees?(Say half?). Our finances would then not be such a constant worry and it would be a much fairer system for all.

My mam and mother in law both suffered from Alzheimers and were eventually admitted to a nursing home which we did not have to pay for as they did not have savings due to renting houses and living in sheltered housing. My mam's home was great, I visited almost every day, could help my mam with her lunch and gained a close relationship with the staff, on the other hand, my husband's mum was in a dreadful place, and since we could only manage 2 visit at weekends I had felt that all I did was complain about her care, I had had a lot of experience with my own mam, and knew what care mum should have. I agree that charging £5k per month is diabolical especially if she is receiving the same care as someone who is being paid for by the State or NHS and I agree that no-one should have to sell their home to fund that. I get fed up with Nursing Home owners complaining that they can't afford to pay for training, the old saying "If you pay peanuts you get monkeys" holds true. The site is full of sad stories/ comments about the lack of care and support and it's all true.

If you pay peanuts you get monkeys and I'm afraid the lack of a decent salary in the care industry means untrained people are expected to look after our elderly dementia patients. They do not get time to look after them properly, they get no travelling time so 1hour or half hour visits become 45 or 20 mins or less. I have experienced this as a sheltered housing manager with my tenants and with my own mother and mother in law. My mam had to go into a nursing home, after it became impossible for my father and I to look after her at home,where she was well treated but mum in law's nursing home was diabolical and it caused us so much soul searching that she should be there. This government needs to give more money to both Social services which needs to be ringfenced and to the NHS it's a disgrace the lies they have told and Hunt needs to go. He's totally out of touch with what is needed and blames everyone but himself, he has lost the confidence of everyone involved.

Having read all the comments I totally agree what has been said and charity is supposed to be at home! My husband had Alzheimers for 12 years and passed away nearly 4 years ago. I had hardly any help for him and the last 4 years he was in a Care Home which was horrible,I ended up volunteering because I was not happy for him or the other residents in there! I am a volunteer now and sit with people and visit as well with people and try to help relatives where I can,but find each visit heart breaking because relatives are struggling to get the help for there loved ones !This government blames us for living longer which I find repulsive because we have all worked hard and been through the wars so do not deserve this treatment and neglect.

The way structures and ways of allocating funds are cobbled together and audited, it is no wonder the care provision for many areas is bad. Councils attempting to save funds are closing care homes and advertising Care in the Community, therefore hospitals are backing up with patients who should be in some form of care at home. The councils offer very low pay rates that again attract the wrong type of carers, which leads to poor standards of care. I have been the main carer for my wife for the last twelve years and want to care for her at home. By opening up an office and fighting every step of the way I do consider that I have a very good team around my wife of NHS palliative care, Memory Clinic for monitoring of my wife's progress through the illness and a hospice to provide home support and alternative therapies for the comfort of my wife. There is also a team of carers who provide double-up care (Hoist in use) four times each day. The only problem is my wife's GP who has never met her, is her dedicated doctor and prescribes with costs in mind not what is the best treatment for my wife. We even have a Community Treatment Team who are there for patients being catered for at home to prevent these patients, who are not in a fit condition to be taken to A&E Departments, which causes severe stress during the latter stages of Alzheimer's. There is a serious need for some form of auditing structure, not box tickers, who understand the need for rooting out organisations set up by private enterprise to run coach and horses through the lack of monitoring and rules. The CQC and other organisation in place to quality control appear from my experience in place to promote fancy titles and large salaries for the benefit of those working within. There is no over-arching structure to monitor errors/complaints to identify what is failing and where within the chain of command. Lots of money is being wasted, which could be providing councils with additional funds for CARE IN THE COMMUNITY

When my husband was at home I employed a series of home care workers to sit with him, to give me a break; none of them had any dementia training that was worthwhile, and proved to be inadequate, until my husband finally went into a care home. I know how inadequate their training is; because having set up a volunteer group to sit with persons with dementia to give their carers a break; I have found Alzheimer's society training invaluable for our group. Training was expensive. No wonder the private home care services do not bother to send their care assistants on training courses. What is the use of a NVQ teaching on food hygiene nutrition handling safety, etc when the BASICS of dementia are not understood? how to communicate; how to understand distress reactions(formerly called challenging behaviour), how to divert; how to actively engage; validation of emotions expressed,etc Not much help either from the CQC's comment that they do not regulate for companionship services...........

It is iniquitous that those who fund their own care in residential/nursing homes should be paying more than those receiving the same amount of care but who are funded by the State. To relieve this burden, it is my opinion that the Government should consider introducing tax relief on care/nursing home fees.

With regard to the training of homecare workers who look after those with dementia, a short placement in a care/nursing home which specialises in dementia care and one which has a good CQC rating could be of some benefit. Home care agencies would have to be responsible for arranging this if practical.

It is shocking that the issues are known and shared by so many of us, yet the Government knowingly or unknowingly doesn't address them and have a workable plan in place to deal with the dementia epidemic. My father still lives in his own home but is slowly deteriorating. I am fortunate enough not to be working out of the home but it is still a juggle to keep up with the help I give him and my own family needs. It is scary to think about the long term care costs and what happens when the care costs go beyond the individuals sale of house and personal savings. So much money wasted on entertainment and sporting venues etc at a drop of a hat. Money sent abroad that we have no idea as taxpayers where it really ends up or for what use good or bad. As a former nurse I even shudder at the thought of how I will cope when my father gets worse. It is a cruel illness like many others that can strike any of us. Carers etc both in the family and those that are employed in care homes/hospitals need adequate training and support. Throughout the 80's/90's and as far as 2007 I never had any dementia care input in my work or training yet we regularly had confused patients on the wards diagnosed or not. I hope things are going to improve but I'm a realist and this is a big mountain to climb with very little equipment to succeed in a hurry.

More carers are needed with a knowledge of dementia. They should be trained, valued, and paid accordingly. In years past there were 'long -stay' wards in hospitals, free of charge, but these no longer exist. Whilst I believe everyone should contribute to the cost of their care, according to their means, no-one should lose all their savings, and should still be able to pass something on to their heirs. On the other hand, why should we, as tax-payers, have to pay for those who are well able to afford to pay for their care? Those with a great deal of money often pay for the best advice on how to avoid paying.

Still a long way to go for caring for people with dementia wither its home care or in a care home its all down to the carers.
Have they the right experience to do their job are they the right sort of person to do the work and can they communicate with the people that they are caring for.

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