Dementia Back in the News

At the beginning of this month I wrote a blog about the news not being  new but just repeating itself.     I could have dug deeper and concluded the the main reason news repeats itself is the nothing gets done and the same problems in the headlines persist though inactivity, indecision, procrastination and sometimes wanton disregard.

Nothing demonstrates the better than dementia.    I have been writing about it ever since I started this blog in 2010.   (You can see all my earlier posts by clicking on ,”Dementia “ in the Topics List)    There are estimated to be 350,000,000 sufferers worldwide.    This number is set to increase exponentially as populations age.  Yet there is relatively little spent on research into the disease and health and social services are sinking under the weight of the problem.   

In the UK no-one will face up to the issue and successive Governments have backed away from doing any thing that might offend the voters.   They key issue being not how older people with dementia should be cared for but who pays.    Currently most of them are left to fend for themselves or be cared for by relatives, which means in most cases they pay for themselves or get no help at all.   When this self-help system breaks down in a crisis, the State reluctantly steps in but only within tightly constrained budget limits.

None of this is news, it has been repeated in headlines year on year.

My solution to the issue is not new either.   I have been writing about it for years —- politicians need to be honest and say that none of us has saved enough to pay for the high cost of care for those who need it.    The only fair way of covering the cost is some form of insurance paid for by the state or by old people themselves.

In 2002 I managed to go to 10 Downing Street and present a case to one of the Prime Ministers advisers for an insurance based system supported by Government guarantees.  I also argued for a government backed approach to provide better value for equity release schemes.  Sadly both ideas largely fell on deaf ears.

Andrew Dilnot’s report commissioned to look into long term care also set out with similar intentions.   Again it’s recommentations were watered down and eventually dropped completely.

Now it is in the hands of most older people  who own their  homes to look after themselves and not expect support from the State.

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2 Responses to Dementia Back in the News

  1. david w freeman says:

    Dementia back news 2017 December
    This is a Dear John letter? Your above grumble ‘Blog’ is most thought provoking, and when considered in depth challenging, to ones way of life!!!
    I note in 2002 you were invited to express your view and express them openly with officials in 10 Downing Street.
    I will have to check who then were politically in power? [ labour ]. Not for any other reason than fact and not dogma?
    Initial reaction.
    You highlight that the thrust of your discussions around the approaching ‘dementia’ or possible dementia problems in the UK for the latter years of the 21 century and that a feasible solution or solutions to ‘dementia’ was equity release and a form of [I will call it ‘dementia mutual] insurance scheme.
    Personal historic viewpoints.
    I was born in 1942, state educated in infant, primary, secondary and at 13+ secondary technical school, all within the state educational system.
    My father was a commercial traveller for a bitumen refiner based in the North East of England, the family home being in the Leeds district. Dad was one of seven children from a Liverpool seafaring family. The great family had a trust, which ended when my grandfather died in the 1950’s. Dad being one of seven children, having lost his [their] mother when in his teens, was encouraged to be self-sufficient. The family trust did ensure a good education [before the state system] in the local public school, for each and all of the seven children.
    Historically we are talking of the 1930’s and the general strike and then the ‘SLUMP’, and the rise to power of the German State and the onset of WWII, when life was or had its difficulties, and many a career was blighted by lack of opportunities, and then by service to the nation in the time of conflict, and making the most of the opportunities that came with serving in the then armed forces, and reserved occupations.
    Dad and Mum married in 1941, and the family home was as I came along with my sisters in the Yorkshire Dales. After the WWII and military service in Europe and Germany: Dad was demobbed and had to find a job of work and a home in 1949. He became the commercial traveller (salesman). Dad was not a citizen of Leeds and housing was restricted to the key workers in the area. Dad had to rely on his future income and basic pay, and purchased a family home on an endowment insurance policy. The house became dad and mums in there early 60’s.
    I am part of what I believe is called ‘’middle England’’, and what some readers would call lucky? Maybe yes? However Johns letter above on ‘Dementia’ reflects history in my times, and while I accept Middle England status, I was asked and it was instilled in me by family values that one firstly looks after one’s family, and offspring, and parents, and was as practically as possible independent of the state, so that one and one’s family were not an encumber ant on ones neighbour or fellow citizens, as far as this was possible. May I say not a ’snobbery value’ but a practical one of reducing state taxes?
    For some this maybe a view too far!
    WE as a nation had to rebuild the nation, and social fabric of the UK, we were losing an empire, paying our friends and allies for the war, and then having to rebuild the nation for peace, and trading, and commerce in general.
    There were ideologies of a national health service to help keep fit and working our working population of the UK, to enable us to pay our international debts, without becoming dependent or enslaved by crippling payments.
    Here I come to the crux of Johns, letter ‘Blog’ and I reflect personal view points:
    I had the opportunity to be employed, educated at the same time, and from advice from my greater family, and Molly’s family and by example, if we could use our income to purchase a family home. Again this was a challenge for us both, we had to undergo rigorous questions, health and family and a financial interrogation, to assure the banks and then the building societies we could service or forthcoming loans, if offered. It was sobering as the period of debt was for 25 years, and as the main bread winner my career was not one of what I may have wished for, but dedication to earning a living to provide for my family.
    When one is faced with these problems of providing through life for one’s family [if one wishes offspring, or is blessed with them], one has to step back now and again and consider what political position one takes from time to time, and how one votes, with the heart or with the head.
    The conservative government under Maggie thatcher had some rudimentary and thoughtful ideas. The purchase of property to become a house owner was one where the onus was not on owning a house [the inflation over the years did mean a ‘’paper profit’’ on the original purchase price], but that it was the home, and, any paper profits were to help solve future family problems-dementia/health/old age being but one? – This is a hangover from the days of a family trust, may I suggest.
    WE now come to the insurance for dementia, and the NHS, here I may have my facts wrong so please kick me hard but gently please?
    I since I started work until my retirement day in receipt of the state pension paid National Insurance Contributions, like everyone else. These payment have I believe been imposed on British workers since the 1920’s? and in the 1948 Act, were to help pay for the NHS [national health service]? What has become complicated and complex is government accounting for what the NI contributions are needed for and the NHS Spending and welfare support. WE as John suggested in 2002 should have an insurance policy of sorts for dementia and old age based upon one of John’s argument equity release in property.
    This is too my mind sound reasoning, and the men in grey suits with the ladies in grey skirts in the corridors of government should be encouraging the discussion off, including –the Dilnot Report.
    Maybe the PRU or Friends Provident or Aviva etc., together with the general insurance industry could with a thoughtful input from government resources offer people of say 50 years of age a retirement health insurance, based upon equity release { At the time of need) scheme such that dementia and care in health related to old age are seriously considered. HERE Endeth The Lesson!!!

  2. john graham says:

    Thanks for a highly interesting comment David. It helps to understand the history behind some of the attitudes that the inter-war and post war generations have to life. They were not easy times and a reasonable lifestyle and the security of home-ownership were hard earned. I think that explains the older generations reluctance to pay out more for care now.
    They very much hoped to pass on a legacy to their children and grandchildren. Greater longevity and improved health care means retirement can now last for many more years. Sadly it can also mean chronic ill health for some, particularly dementia. In turn this means more resources are need for care and the house may be the only asset left to pay for it.

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