Care in the Community
Leading long, healthy and independent lives in Argyll and Bute
We have a responsibility to look after ourselves; lifestyle choices we make as adults affect our quality of life in old age. Long-term conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease are common and often people have many conditions. Simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference to our health and reduce the chances of getting ill. Healthy living can also help us stay independent for longer. One of the most important things we can do for our health is spend time with people we like. Maintaining social relationships and avoiding being lonely and isolated helps us live longer. Being physically active is another easy remedy to ill- health; just 30 minutes most days of the week is better than any medicine or vitamin. Why not combine the two and join a local walking group, a community garden, sports centre or bowling club? There are lots of activities across Argyll and Bute and many cater for all abilities.
Impossible cost: dementia care bill would take 125 years to save for
An Alzheimer’s Society investigation has laid bare the unachievable cost of dementia care, calculating that the typical person’s bill for dementia social care would take 125 years to save for.
Successive governments have placed funding of dementia care squarely on the shoulders of people affected, but today’s calculation reveals that even if people pre- emptively saved as they do for their pension, it would be impossible to prepare for. The charity warns the bill will topple ‘generation rent’, who have fewer assets than previous generations, and are at higher risk of developing dementia as people continue to live longer.
Dementia cannot be cured or effectively treated so it is costly social care, rather than free NHS treatments, that many people with dementia are forced to pay for. Judith from Surrey, whose mum, Joan, had Alzheimer’s disease, said: ‘ My mum ended up spending more than £500,000 on her dementia care. She would be devastated to know her money was gone and she could only leave her grandchildren a fraction of what she had hoped. She was so proud to think they would be sorted financially in the future.
‘ By the end of her life mum couldn’t eat, drink, speak or move anything but her eyes, yet she still wasn’t applicable for state funding despite paying taxes and National Insurance all her life. She paid for all her care right until she passed away.’
As part of its United Against Dementia campaign, ahead of Dementia Awareness Week, the charity today publishes the findings from its largest ever consultation with people affected by dementia, Turning Up the Volume: Unheard Voices of People with Dementia conducted with Ipsos MORI.
The report reveals nearly half (47 per cent) of the UK adults aged between 16 and 75 questioned have not started saving for the care and support they might need in the future, and a third (37 per cent) agreed that before being asked, they had not considered the cost of dementia care and support.
When asked whether the government should pay for their care and support if they developed dementia, more than half (54 per cent) of UK adults interviewed agreed that the Government should pay, while just fi ve per cent disagreed.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘ Dementia is a disease, as cancer is a disease, as heart disease is a disease. Getting dementia shouldn’t mean families are left bankrupt or destitute with nothing to leave behind.
‘ The social care crisis is a dementia crisis. Many people with dementia and their families are buckling under the inordinate pressure of propping up a failing social care system that has been starved of funding for decades. Too many
people are forced to give up everything they own in order to care day in and day out for their mother, father, husband or wife.
‘ Repeatedly, governments have failed to put a long- term plan in place. On behalf of people with dementia, I challenge the next government to create a long- term, sustainable system for funding dementia care. Currently, many people with dementia feel deserted by the state, and must rely on family members and carers for the support they need.’
Turning Up the Volume: Unheard Voices of People with Dementia is an unprecedented look at what it is like to live with dementia now, bringing together the views of more than 3,850 people with dementia, carers and the public, in a series of in- depth interviews and face- to- face and online surveys.
The report also shed light on the poor quality of care which is unacceptable. A carer interviewed said: ‘ The care at home wasn’t working right. They couldn’t always feed them in the time they had, so very often they [parents] hadn’t either eaten or drunk. They [the carers] didn’t always have time to change the bedding. They would either forget to do the meds or miss the meds. One time there was a note left to say, “Derek, this is your meds” and he’d never in a month of Sundays remember.’
The report revealed there is still an ongoing stigma around the condition, and that a sense of hopelessness surrounds a dementia diagnosis. It highlights how people can lose their sense of self, independence and the ability to live the life they want. However, when people with dementia are supported and can access the right care and information, it showed they are able to live fulfi lled lives.
Last month Alzheimer's Society launched its biggest ever campaign calling on the public to set aside their differences – from age to tastes and social standing to political allegiances – and unite in the fi ght against dementia, as it is set to become the 21st century’s biggest killer.
With this report’s new insight into what it means for people with dementia, it is more urgent than ever that the public unites and joins the dementia movement at alzheimers.org.uk.