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Call to end Dementia Tax

26 June 2008

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Thousands of people with dementia are being forced to pay large amounts for vital care, which is often poor quality, according to a new report published today by Alzheimer’s Society.

The Dementia Tax shows that over two-thirds of people with dementia are paying for basic care such as help with washing, dressing and going to the toilet that they require as a result of their medical condition. The majority of people are paying at least £100 a week towards the costs of care.

Based on an Alzheimer’s Society survey of over 2,300 people with dementia and their carers in England, the report found that:

  • People with dementia living in care homes are hit the hardest, with over half paying over £300 a week towards their care.
  • Two-thirds of people caring for a person at home pay for vital care with one in three paying over £50 a week. The biggest cost was for help with personal care such as eating, washing or using the toilet.
  • 77% of carers who use respite services in care homes have to pay towards the costs of this vital break, with one in three paying over £150 a week.
  • Only half of people with dementia who live at home are getting all the help from social services they need.
  • Charging affects people from all backgrounds. The report found that 40% of manual and service workers are contributing more than £300 per week towards their care.
  • The charity argues that the current system of means testing for social care is a tax on people with dementia whose care is deemed to be social care, rather than health care free on the NHS.

Neil Hunt, chief executive, Alzheimer’s Society said: “The Dementia Tax is persecuting thousands of people from all walks of life who are being hit hard by a system that provides poor care at a huge cost. The horrific truth is that the current charging system leaves vulnerable people who have a devastating and incurable condition to pay for essential help. We hear from people who have to pay for care out of money they need to heat their houses and buy food.

“It is not unreasonable to ask people to make a contribution towards the cost of their care, but people will not pay to prop up a broken system that fails to deliver quality care.”

He added: “We must scrap the Dementia Tax and gain a political consensus on a move towards a transparent, sustainable and fair system.”

Alzheimer’s Society

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