By Debbie le Quesne

Dementia – provision needs proper funding too

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Yesterday our televisions were full of the news that the government is doubling the funding for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.

And Mr Cameron has asked world health chiefs to come to the UK and discuss how a solution can be found to the globally predicted figure of 135 million by 2050.

The Prime Minister has pledged to increase the £66m research budged targeted for 2015 to £122m in 2025.

Not surprisingly, he Alzheimer’s Society is calling for a seven-fold increase in an attempt to play catch-up on research.

It’s an interesting promise, perhaps on behalf of government where he is not the PM. Distant promises always make me suspicious and especially if they’re made by politicians.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt told BBC Breakfast was optimistic about the “summit “proposal and if this does happen I believe it’s the sensible way ahead.

Alzheimer’s disease affects around 500,000 people in the UK but it is believed that only 45 per cent of people with dementia in the UK have a diagnosis.

In our care sector the need for speicialised dementia care is ever-growing. Commissioners are crying out for good placements, homes where carers have training to understand and deal with the difficulties of dementia care.

Undoubtedly, entrepreneurs will see this developing marketplace as worthy opportunity to invest, but only if sufficient funding on beds is made available.

Emotive language banded about by some politicians and others doesn’t help either. I keep seeing reference to “the dementia plague”. Who really would want their loved-on to be in a residential care setting with other “plague” victims? It all sounds horribly apocalyptic or Medieval.

Specialist dementia care homes are thin on the ground and even more so are those which address the challenging behaviour that dementia can bring.

With the demands for more staff, more training and greater provision from the private sector, comes the inevitable question: Where is the money coming from?

Im left asking: Who will look after all these millions of patients that will have dementia by 2025 and how will their care be funded? True, research needs to be funded and funded generously, but so do the incentives to bring about the care supply with this ever-increasing demand.


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