When Britain’s new Prime Minister makes promises to tackle the growing problem of dementia care costs, it, of course, makes headlines.
With more than 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and that figure predicted to rise to more than 1 million by 2025, Boris Johnson’s pledge to stop people being forced to sell their homes to pay care costs was undoubtedly welcome.
But as Michelle Monnes-Thomas, our Dementia Champion and Partner in our Wills, Probate & Lifetime Planning department says, it’s time for less talk and more action:
The dementia care crisis has been hidden behind closed doors for too long. It is an issue that needs directly to be addressed and delivered – now rather than later.
Seventy per cent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems and in some cases, the homes of people who have worked hard to buy their own property are being sold to pay for their care.
This causes even more anguish to families who are already enduring exhaustion and stress at an emotionally difficult time as their loved one receives a dementia diagnosis.
They’re faced with having to sell assets, worry about how they will pay the fees and selling the family home because they cannot afford to run the property or it is needed to pay their fees.
The main issue is that dementia – despite its growing prevalence - is not being given the same priority as cancer and other illnesses that are fully funded through the NHS.
The dementia care costs scandal is already being fought on a national stage – the Alzheimer’s Society’s #fixdementiacare fight is calling for an overhaul of the system and the Daily Mail newspaper is calling for politicians to take action.
We can only hope that as the campaign for change gathers pace it does lead to an urgent change in the system.
Michelle Monnes-Thomas is a Partner in our Wills, Probate & Lifetime Planning department. She heads up the Community Care Team specialising in challenging care decisions and reviewing assessments for care and long term planning.