Actress Lesley Manville shines light on Britain’s broken social care system
Oscar-nominated actress and Alzheimer’s Society supporter, Lesley Manville, is supporting a new animation highlighting the impact of the UK’s broken and unfair social care system.
- The current social care system is unfit and unfair for people living with dementia – It’s dreadfully unjust that those trying to access tackling it face additional battles to get the care they so desperately need, just because they happen to have developed dementia and not some other disease.
- Every month that goes by families are spending £750 million of their own money on vital care and, by the next election, as much as £40 billion will have been taken directly from the pockets of families living with dementia.
- Alzheimer’s Society is calling on the Government to commit to £8 billion in immediate funding and a clear timetable for long-term reform.
Oscar-nominated actress and Alzheimer’s Society supporter, Lesley Manville, known for her role in the award-winning film Phantom Thread and BBC sitcom Mum, is supporting a new animation from the charity, launched today, highlighting the impact of the UK’s broken and unfair social care system on people affected by dementia.
The film, voiced by Lesley, depicts the real story of a family with first-hand experience of the inequity of care because a loved one has dementia. Isabel, who is caring for her husband John, who has dementia, does her best but as his condition deteriorates and his needs become more challenging , it becomes too much for her to manage alone, so she is forced to find a care home for him. The emotional and financial impact is devastating as Isabel not only feels like she’s lost her companion, but is also footing a bill of £1,000 a week for the care home. As Isabel explains in the film “dementia isn’t like other diseases” when she is left to cover crippling costs of care for John.
The social care crisis is a dementia crisis. Three fifths of people using homecare and 70% of people in care homes have dementia. Due to chronic underfunding, accessing quality social care for people with dementia is often extremely difficult whether they live at home or in a care home, and this will only get worse without rapid investment and reform. Alzheimer’s Society estimates that there will be a shortfall of 30,000 care home places for people with dementia by 2021. Those that receive care find it’s often of poor quality, leaving too many people with dementia spending the day in soiled clothing, going without food or water, and ending up having to be admitted to hospital A&E or care homes unnecessarily. Lack of social care in the community drains hundreds of millions from the NHS each year, through tens of thousands of avoidable hospital admissions and people being stuck in hospital when they’re well enough to leave.
It’s not just the physical or emotional difficulties that hurt families coping with a dementia diagnosis, as they look for good quality care. There’s an added financial strain, since care for people with dementia is not provided by the state. People with dementia and their families shoulder two-thirds of the cost of caring for people with dementia. That means families face a double whammy, having to pay, on average, £100,000 to cover care costs, with some even spending up to half a million.
Actress Lesley Manville, who is currently in ‘The Visit’ at the National Theatre, said:
'Looking after my mother when she developed dementia really opened my eyes to the cruel, traumatic impact of this disease.
The more I’ve volunteered with Alzheimer’s Society and met people affected by dementia, the more I’ve heard how much families are struggling to get quality care for their loved ones with dementia, and the eye-watering price tag that comes with it. I don’t understand why.
'People shouldn’t be punished because their loved one has this heart-breaking condition, rather than any other, but that’s exactly what’s happening. My story sadly isn’t the only one. There are tens of thousands of others all across the country battling to get dementia care. The Government has to fix dementia care for good. We must stop more families going through this unnecessary pain and distress. People with dementia deserve so much better.'
Jeremy Hughes, Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive, said:
Dementia is devastating. It’s unacceptable that people with it are additionally forced to battle an unfit and unfair social care system to try and get the care they so desperately need.
'Every day, through our Fix Dementia Care campaign, we hear stories like Isabel’s that highlight just how difficult their experience is.
'To deliver on his promise to fix social care, the Prime Minister must take decisive action at the March Budget. Social care needs £8 billion in immediate funding to bring care to an acceptable level, as well as a clear timetable for long-term reform that provides a fairer system and ensures access to quality care. Only then will people, wherever they live, be protected from catastrophic costs.'
Alzheimer’s Society is campaigning to end the injustice of the unfair and unfit social care system for people living with dementia. To join their Fix Dementia Care campaign and take action visit alzheimers.org.uk/FixBudget.