Dementia Care here in the UK

Recently read this article from the Care Industry New on Dementia care and thought it worthy of sharing ………..

It is difficult to maintain a positive demeanour when considering the heartless inevitability of dementia in Britain today, and the limited options available for giving those living with it a reasonable quality of life.

One in six people over the age of 80 has dementia, most commonly Alzheimer’s disease. It comes like a thief in the night and triggers loss of brain function, creating conditions such as memory loss, confusion and speech problems that are usually progressive and severe.

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over a million by 2025. This will soar to two million by 2051. 225,000 will develop dementia this year – that’s one every three minutes. And one in every three children born this year will live to 100.

It has the makings of a perfect storm for the care sector, for charities, for government agencies and local authorities who are trying to source funding for care – and, not least, for families who will see their loved ones effectively disappear before their eyes.

Families, particularly, are woefully unprepared for the implications – practical, financial and emotional – of dementia and what it will mean for those who have to look after an elderly relative in the years of steep decline.

Perhaps understandably, few people prepare for such circumstances financially, since dementia is unforeseeable and often manifests itself in small increments which are increasingly tolerated until the point of crisis.

Even care professionals can underestimate the enormous costs of giving dementia sufferers the full-time support and attention they need in the specialised environment of a care home.

Traditional care at home models are also ill-equipped to deal with dementia, which is one of the main causes of disability in later life, ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Patients need much, much more than the one or two hours of care a day provided by most domiciliary care services. Such visits, often by different carers due to the exigencies of shift rotation, can serve to confuse rather than help people living with dementia.

The condition, particularly in the latter stages, requires 24 hours a day, seven days a week care and surveillance and the costs of providing this are hugely prohibitive, whether in the cared for persons home or a care home.

The first thing families faced must do when faced with the responsibility for a relative with dementia is to understand the scale of costs involved and the likely duration over which they will have to be met.

Some help may be available from local authorities, but this will depend very much on individual needs, based on a needs assessment, and how much the family can contribute towards the costs, based on a financial assessment. Some benefits may also be available.

Even if help is available, it is unlikely to cover all the costs involved and self-funding may become necessary. There are financial products such annuity contracts which are designed for older people needing immediate care. They give a guaranteed income for life, in return for an upfront lump-sum investment.

There are other options, all of which should be discussed in detail with a professional financial adviser before any decisions are taken. Many may not be suitable and could lead to subsequent financial difficulties for the ‘carer’ family.

But with the statistics surrounding dementia, hoping that nothing will happen is not really an option. Families with older relatives must factor in to their forward planning the distinct possibility that care costs will have to be met at some stage.

Bodies such as the Government’s Money Advice Service and the Society of Later Life Advisers can give valuable guidance to the options available to families who want to see their loved ones well catered for in their declining years.

Being prepared financially makes sense on many levels. And the time for people with elderly relatives to start thinking about it is now.

We here at www.Senior Care Support  understand the dilemma that families face when, not only  sourcing the ‘right care home’, but also trying to understand the care system, what is affordable, and what benefits would help support a move into care.

Why not talk, in confidence, with one of our advisors to see whether we may be able to help you on: 01564 743067 or email: