Mail’s dementia care petition gathers speed as 120,000 readers sign4 min read

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Mail’s dementia care campaign gathers speed as 120,000 readers sign petition in just three days

  • More than 120,000 readers have backed petition on dementia care campaign
  • The Mail has been inundated with support from those hit by a ‘tax on dementia’
  • Many sufferers have even had to sell their homes just to pay for their own care 

Signatures backing the Daily Mail’s petition to end the dementia care costs scandal soared past 120,000 last night.

Having hit 20,000 on Sunday night after its launch just the previous morning, more than 100,000 extra people added their names yesterday.

We are calling for the Government to end its neglect of families living with the burden of dementia.

The campaign is calling for the new Prime Minister to immediately set up a cross-party group to examine all options for funding dementia care – including pension contributions, tax breaks for social care payments or a new care insurance scheme [File photo]

The campaign is calling for the new Prime Minister to immediately set up a cross-party group to examine all options for funding dementia care – including pension contributions, tax breaks for social care payments or a new care insurance scheme [File photo]

The Mail has been inundated with support from those hit by a ‘tax on dementia’, with families spending £15billion supporting relatives with the condition in the last two years alone.

In that time, 770,000 people over the age of 65 have been turned down for care funding by local authorities.

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Many have had to sell their homes to pay for their care, with bills often surpassing £100,000 a year.

The new prime minister – who will be unveiled today as either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt – must make the issue an urgent priority when he enters Downing Street tomorrow.

The campaign was also backed by former England and Blackburn Rovers footballer Chris Sutton, who wrote on social media: ‘An older person who has a heart attack gets medical care paid for [File photo]

The campaign was also backed by former England and Blackburn Rovers footballer Chris Sutton, who wrote on social media: ‘An older person who has a heart attack gets medical care paid for [File photo]

The campaign is calling for him to immediately set up a cross-party group to examine all options for funding dementia care – including pension contributions, tax breaks for social care payments or a new care insurance scheme.

And he must set up an NHS ‘dementia fund’ to help families pay the extra cost of supporting those affected by dementia compared to other conditions.

Many of those signing the petition have experienced the stark injustice of the system first-hand. Veronica Capaldi, adding her name on the change.org website, said: ‘My unmarried sister-in-law was frugal all her life. 

She had to sell her home, and was self-funding for almost four years before her death last year at 90. She spent over £150,000 on her care. It’s all wrong.’ 

Peter Harrington added: ‘My father-in-law worked all his life to have it all taken from him.’ 

And Steve Moss said: ‘My father has lived in his home for 55 years and is in danger of having to sell it to pay for care owing to his worsening dementia. His GP told us that this is a social issue and not a medical one. What utter nonsense.’ The campaign was also backed by former England and Blackburn Rovers footballer Chris Sutton, who wrote on social media: ‘An older person who has a heart attack gets medical care paid for.

‘If you have dementia and own your own home and need care you have to pay for the care yourself and many have to sell their house to do so… this can’t be right. End the dementia care cost betrayal.’

Charities, academics and politicians of all parties have supported the call for change.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, which has led support for the Mail’s campaign, said: ‘Social care is in a desperate state, in urgent need of a complete overhaul. Decades of under-funding have left people with dementia struggling with a system that is unfair and unsustainable.

‘The injustice of people battling to get care, on top of battling the devastating effects of dementia can’t go on.’

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Emma Barr, of the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank, added: ‘Current social care arrangements are opaque and unsustainable – reforming social care must be a priority for the next Prime Minister.’

And Heidi Allen, the independent MP for South Cambridgeshire, said: ‘We know the solutions aren’t easy, but the Government needs to get on with it because this situation is affecting more and more people every single day.’      

Life savings ‘wiped out’

Alan Spice, 71, has seen his life savings almost entirely wiped out after being forced to pay for social care.

His wife Sue, 72, estimates she has spent a total of £130,000 on his care since his 2012 dementia diagnosis.

By January this year, the grandfather of six’s assets had dwindled to less than £23,250 – the threshold at which families are entitled to council contributions.

But while East Sussex County Council agreed to pay £105 a week towards the former bank manager’s £900-a-week care, his £85 attendance allowance was withdrawn, leaving him just £20 better off. Then last month his assets fell below £14,250, the point at which councils should pay the full cost. But the family are yet to see their funding rise.

Mrs Spice, who lives in Bexhill, East Sussex, called the situation ‘a joke’. The council declined to comment.

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