Seeking Support in the UK for Adults with Dementia

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Living with dementia has the potential to impede on the quality of one’s life in a significant way. In addition to experiencing difficulty performing daily tasks, older adults with dementia often face financial and social limitations that directly impact their level of autonomy. In order to combat this growing concern spreading throughout the older population, certain legislation acts have been put in place to promote the health and well-being of individuals living with dementia.

In England, the Care Act put in place in 2014, offers a high level of guidance not only for individuals living with dementia but for their caregivers as well. Within the Act, local authorities are tasked with providing high-quality information and access to community resources which together create a strong foundation for maintaining a quality of life as well as a deeper understanding of how care and support can be accessed. In addition, specific information on who is responsible for paying for the cost of care, whether in-home or through a care home, is provided.

Paying for Care

In the UK, the average cost of residential care costs is an estimated £29,270 each year, with the potential to top £39,300 when skilled nursing care is a requirement. Total costs can be higher or lower should an older individual prefer or otherwise need to live and receive care in their own home. The thought of paying for these high annual costs is daunting to individuals living with dementia and the people who offer to care for them. However, there are a number of care and support services that cannot incur a cost, based on the Care Act. These services and care solutions include:

  • Up to six weeks of intermediate or reablement care

  • Adaptations to the home or aids that cost less than £1,000

  • Support and after-care services made available under the Mental Health Act of 1983

  • Services provided by the NHS

  • Any services a local authority is required to provide based on broad legislation

In cases where support services or care for individuals with dementia is not covered explicitly, there are other remedies to lower the cost of care. Fortunately, local authorities have the ability to offset some of the costs associated with providing high-quality care for certain individuals, based on an assessment of their income and assets.

The financial assessment works as a tool to help local authorities determine who pays for care or support and to what extent. Within the assessment, which differs depending on where care and support is received, a complete list of financial information must be provided by the individual for whom care or support is needed. The local authority reviews the financial picture to gain a better understanding of the capability of an individual to pay, and if care and support can be paid for by the local authority itself. High-income earners and those with substantial assets typically pay for care and support through their own means, while lower-income individuals who have little to no assets are taken care of by the local authority.

Other Benefits Available

The foundation of the Care Act is to provide older adults with viable means to continue living a quality life with independence and dignity. To accomplish this goal, additional provisions, above and beyond who foots the bill for care and support services, are required to be offered through local authorities. These provisions include the ability to access accurate and appropriate information through a variety of resources, guidance on from where and how to receive the best advice, and the process for obtaining independent advocates to assist individuals living with dementia in receiving the care and support they need.

In addition, local authorities offer some direction relating to complaints against national health systems, care home, or individual caregivers when the need arises. Unfortunately, individuals living with dementia are no immune to receiving poor-quality care, and so the need for rectifying negative situations is pressing. Local authorities urge individuals and caregivers to seek out solutions through the organization at the heart of the complaint first, and detailed information on how to start the complaint process is made available as part of the Care Act provisions.

In some cases, the individual living with dementia is unable to go down the path of filing a formal complaint due to cognitive issues and diminishing mental capacity. Family members, friends and caregivers have the opportunity to see out support for the complaints process through a variety of community resources, including family clinics. A representative from a medical negligence firm in the UK explains that the purpose of a family clinic is to offer legal support to those involved parties when the individual living with dementia does not have the ability to do so for himself. Local authorities can make information regarding family clinics and other related resources available to friends and family members in an effort to support their search for answers and an eventual solution.

The population continues to age at an impressive rate, and because no cure for dementia is available, older individuals and the people who provide care to them are in desperate need of support on a local level. The Care Act puts the responsibility of providing information and access to appropriate resources in the hands of local authorities, including guidelines for how to pay for care and how to secure support services. An understanding of dementia combined with robust service offerings helps ensure the quality of life of individuals living with dementia is sustained.

Available from ElderCare Online™                2017 Prism Innovations, Inc.