Family and friends put in 9.4 million extra caring hours

By Crediton Courier Newspaper   |   Editorial   |
Sunday 8th November 2020 4:30 pm
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AN Alzheimer’s Society has revealed that family and friends of people living with dementia across the South West have put in 9.4 million extra caring hours since lockdown began.

The shocking figure has been blamed on the double whammy of lockdown making dementia symptoms worse, and the chronically underfunded social care system leaving them nowhere else to turn.

In its new report "Worst hit: dementia during Coronavirus" the charity explains the catastrophic impact coronavirus has had on the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK – including more than 92,000 in the South West.

The Government’s COVID-19 winter plan has laid out a strategy for preventing the spread of coronavirus in care settings, but Alzheimer’s Society warns this does not go far enough, and relies on regular testing for care home staff and residents, which has been dogged by delays.

Alzheimer’s Society continues to hear of significant problems, including care homes not having their tests collected and results taking too long to be returned.

The plan also has not recognised the family carers on an equal footing with key workers, an omission which the charity says will risk further dangerous isolation for residents with dementia.

The report reveals for the first time the painful experiences of families with dementia out in the community during the last six months, and urges the Government to fix the broken social care system they are propping up at huge personal sacrifice.

The charity is also calling on the NHS and local authorities to set out how they will involve social care providers and care homes in winter pressure planning, ensuring that social care is on an equal footing with the NHS, to avoid a potential second spike and further deaths.

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