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Dementia care crisis ‘costing firms in England £3.2bn a year’

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over one million by 2025.

A charity has warned businesses lose billions due to the dementia care crisis (PA)
A charity has warned businesses lose billions due to the dementia care crisis (PA)

By Jane Kirby, PA Health Editor

Firms in England lost £3.2 billion last year due to the crisis in dementia care, new figures suggest.

Data from the Centre for Economics and Business Research for the Alzheimer’s Society showed the cost of dementia to England’s businesses has risen by £1.6 billion in the last four years and will hit £6.3 billion by 2040.

The figures are based on lost productivity as carers feel they have no other choice but to quit their jobs or change their working patterns to look after loved ones with dementia.

Of the 355,000 people of working age caring for somebody with dementia, more than 147,000 have had to reduce their work hours, or have had difficulty balancing jobs with caring, the data suggests.

Overall, more than 112,000 people have had to give up their job or retire early.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Up and down the country families are desperately trying and often failing to get the good quality dementia care their loved ones need.

“Instead, over 100,000 people have had no choice but to leave their jobs and try to care for their loved ones themselves.

“The knock-on cost to businesses is only going to get bigger, with more and more people set to develop dementia, and no solution put in place to sort out social care.

“It’s devastating for people with dementia, devastating for their families and carers, a drain on the NHS and now we see how badly it’s affecting our economy.”

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The number of people with dementia in the UK is set to rise to over a million by 2025 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Hughes said the Government must now “overhaul” social care, adding: “It should work like the NHS, schools and other public services, where everyone gets quality care based on their need, not their wallet.”

The charity argues that high quality dementia care should be equally available to everyone with the condition and that the Government should guarantee a minimum level of support for all.

It also wants to see an end to a “dementia tax” which sees people with dementia charged, on average, 15% more than standard social care due to some having more complex needs.

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over a million by 2025.

A Government spokeswoman said: “Carers make an invaluable contribution to society and this must not come at the expense of their careers.

“We are working with employers to promote carer-friendly, flexible jobs and ensure better access to advice and support, and will consult on dedicated employment rights for carers.

“We have given local authorities an additional £1.5 billion for adult and children’s social care next year, on top of their existing grants, to continue to stabilise the sector.

“The Government will set out plans to fix the social care system in due course.”

PA

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