It’s hard to get away from but the unpalatable truth is that caring for someone with dementia isn’t cheap and sadly the system hasn’t yet been streamlined to make things easier for people.
There are multiple options, including top-up contributions and partial funding depending on what you qualify for as well as personal payment if you decide to go private.
The average care home currently costs around £800 pounds per week, now, considering average weekly earnings for someone working full time in the UK are only some £550 per week, for most, this is not affordable.
When you then factor in that you could be paying that amount for years then things soon start to add up.
Somehow the government has stated that it expects us to be able to fund our own care should we need it. I don’t know about Phillip Hammond, but I just don’t have a spare £70,000 down the back of my sofa and if I had I doubt I’d be putting it into a pot ‘just in case’. The reality is that less than 1% of us would be able to afford to go fully private without having to sell our biggest asset i.e our homes.
In-home care won’t save you much money either as it’s only marginally cheaper and often worrying about if carers are coming or not can be more stressful than residential care. However, it’s the same story all around the globe. Currently, the global cost of dementia is estimated by Alzheimer’s Disease International to be over $818bn and that number is constantly rising. To put it another way, if dementia was a real country it would have a bigger economy than Venezuela.
It’s now the fastest growing disease in America and is decimating the country’s resources as it costs more than cancer. However, Alzheimer’s medication itself is fairly cheap, so we can’t blame the pharmaceutical companies for the hefty price tag. Instead, costs come from the mere fact that dementia is a slow-moving illness but once it accelerates care becomes more involved, patients can develop complex health issues and nursing wages need to be paid.
Not everyone has health insurance either. In the United States, people will avoid going to the doctor for simple health issues just in case they have to pay. It’s not something that society likes to discuss but dementia can have a huge impact on someone’s finances, from having to sell assets to downsizing and selling a much-loved property. To put it simply people do not have the money lying around to pay for care and no one is saving large amounts because we’re still in a period of austerity.
Young people are struggling to even get on the housing ladder, they barely have any disposable income as it is! What they do have they spend on things that matter in the here and now. Not something that may or may not happen years, and years down the line. Private health insurance is a minefield in itself, but as the number of people living with dementia continues to rise increasing already high premiums may be the only option. We are dealing with an ageing population – that means that if governments aren’t careful global dementia care costs could spiral massively out of control.