The Bleak Midwinter of Dementia Carers – Alzheimer’s Society Latest Report
Whilst Covid-19 continues to rage amongst our communities, spare a thought for those caring for their loved ones living with dementia in their own homes. While we complain about not being able to go to the theatre, sports events and on holiday, others would just be grateful to get the chance to get out for a walk.
In a sobering report, the Alzheimer’s Society has found that families have ‘an extra 92 million hours caring for loved ones with dementia’ due to their normal support network of carers and support being cancelled due to the virus. Many stated they put in over 100 hours a week looking after relatives with the disease. Other statistics show*:
- 95% of carers said their health had been negatively affected
- 69% suffered exhaustion
- 64% had anxiety
- 49% felt depressed
- 14% could not find time to see a GP
- 13% had sustained an injury from caring
(*figures taken from a survey of 1000 carers)
Around 83% of people the charity spoke to reported worsening dementia symptoms because of lockdown causing reduced or no social care assistance and isolation, putting unbearable pressure on their families and friends.
76 year old Gordon Weldon from Scarborough, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year and cares for his wife Sue, with frontotemporal dementia, has lost the paid care who visited an hour a day, and Sue can no longer attend a day care centre four days a week.
The carers used to really help with my stress, giving me some time off to look after my own health. But when lockdown hit, I stopped getting that care and the day centre closed. It was all on me, and I didn’t want Sue sitting in bed all day.
So I took it all on – the morning getting up, cooking all the meals, all the washing, the housework. Sue’s not able to do anything for herself now, so it was exhausting and I began to feel very depressed.
It’s obvious that the Government think unpaid family carers will sort themselves out. We’re not a priority.’
Over 2 million people like Gordon have contacted The Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Connect Support Line since lockdown, people who have no one to turn to for advice or sometimes just for a friendly voice to listen.
Sadly, almost 14,000 people with dementia died from COVID-19 between the months of March and June, with many of these deaths linked to poor government planning, lack of adequate PPE and insufficient testing in those early months.
Kate Lee, Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive stated:
‘The tens of thousands of deaths of people with dementia – and the grieving families each on has left behind – must make us pause. I know if social care had been on an equal footing with the NHS we would not have seen deaths on such a scale.
The Government must never abandon families with dementia again. Lessons must be learnt to prevent any further tragedy this winter.’
The Alzheimer’s Society have set out some key areas in which they urge the Government to make changes – click here to see details.
Activities to Share have been supporting carers and care homes throughout this pandemic and have a wide range of useful help and advice articles and organisations to contact. Click on the link to see how we can assist you.
For anyone caring for a loved one who is living with dementia, we have an extensive range of items to help keep them occupied, from simple games and puzzles to comforting Activity Blankets and soft pets to soothe and relax people of all abilities.
Our experienced team work closely with professionals and can help advise on the right items to help your unique situation – call us now on 01227 362858 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
To read the full report, click here.