According to The Carers Trust there are an estimated 670,000 primary carers of people with dementia in the UK and the current cost of dementia to local authorities and the families of sufferers is estimated at an enormous £23bn each year.
What’s more, the majority of people with dementia are cared for at home by a relative or friend and the average age of a family carer is between 60 and 65 years old.
So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation and where do you go for help? Well, the first thing to do is make sure you don’t blame yourself. Dementia in its various forms is a brain disorder which results in loss of brain function that is progressive and can, and most often does, become severe.
It is a nasty and debilitating disease, especially for those who have to watch a loved one deteriorate as a result of it and the bare facts are that few forms of dementia are curable – the best you can probably hope for is the use of drugs that in some cases can help alleviate symptoms.
But you don’t need to be alone if you are caring for someone who is suffering from the disease – in fact you should access all the help you can get. The Carers Trust have a six point checklist for dealing with dementia – here it is:
• Make sure you have had a Carer Need Assessment
• Register with your GP as a carer.
• Have you and the person you are caring for had a benefits assessment to ascertain that you are receiving all the support that you are entitled to?
• Has the person you care for had a community care assessment?
• Have you discussed and begun the process of writing wills and implementing a Lasting Power of Attorney?
• Have you been given information on what dementia is and how it will affect the person you care for?
To find out more visit www.carers.org