We are fortunate to be experiencing a more open and publicised approach to dementia.
In the UK today it is estimated there are 766,000 people with dementia and that number is set to grow to 1.32 million by 20401. The human cost of dementia for those who have it and those who care for them is immense. It is estimated that the cost to the state is £10.54 billion and that by 2040 the costs will have risen to £18.31 billion2. This excludes those people who pay to support themselves. When the costs borne by the state and private individuals are combined, we calculate that the financial cost to society of dementia over the next 27 years will reach £392 billion.
Dementia has been brought into the public arena through the media and work of organisations such as the Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia Friends Initiative. The stigma of this degenerative disease is being broken down. Professionals and families alike are now able to openly access both early diagnosis and treatment. Despite these major advances, a major area of the concern is the aspect of ‘dementia care’.
A vast majority of the care for these people is undertaken and provided by family members. As the disease progresses it becomes harder for families to care for their loved ones. Their desperate attempts to avoid institutional care means they are often at crisis point before they seek help.
In the UK there are approximately 17,500 care homes, providing long-term care and support to 487,000 older people3 and as many as 80 per cent of residents may have dementia.
Care homes have become society’s answer to the provision of long-term care for older people who can no longer be supported at home5. Laing & Buisson in their Care of the elderly UK survey report 2012/2013 noted that, despite policy favouring non-residential alternatives, there has been a recent resurgence in demand for care home packages6.
The options are limited with many areas suffering a distinct lack of specialist care homes. Families are forced to make critical decisions often ill prepared and in a market place which offers a limited choice with little or no alternative options. Faced with this scenario the inevitable happens. Choice is often determined by price and availability.
At iMind we believe the focus has to support the shift to improving the quality of care currently available in the market place. At iMind our initiative is not only to raise the profile of ‘good dementia care’ but also to develop an innovative care setting. At iMind we want to break the mould and push the boundaries to develop a facility in which individuals suffering at the end stage of the dementia disease process can be assured of not only specialist care but care which is delivered in an inspirational way. It is about an experience not only for the patient but for the family too.
1 Multiplying estimated prevalence levels from Personal Social Services Research Unit, LSE. (Dementia UK” (2007) report by the population estimates from World Prospects, 2010 edition. 2 Calculations for this report were carried out in 2013. 3 Laing W (2013) Care of elderly people UK market survey 2012/2013. London: National 4 Alzheimer’s Society (2013) Record numbers of people with dementia in care homes. Press release. 5 Davies SJ, Goodman C, Bunn F et al (2011) A systematic review of integrated working between care homes and healthcare services. BMC Health Services Research 11 320. doi:10. 1186/1472-6963111-320 6 The Journal of Dementia Care. Volume 22 No. 4 July/August 2014.