Dementia is a complex condition that can make everyday life challenging. Things that many of us take for granted like cooking, washing or using the toilet become increasingly difficult as dementia progresses. The majority of people with dementia will eventually need round-the-clock support to manage their symptoms and live with comfort and dignity.
The ‘dementia tax’ is a way of referring to the financial burden people with dementia and their families face while trying to fund the care they need. Many people with dementia in the UK are faced with having to pay thousands of pounds for their own care, which often depletes their savings and places an immense financial burden upon families.
Learn more about the “dementia tax” and why it’s so important that people with dementia receive the financial support they need to get the person-centred care they deserve.
DEMENTIA TAX EXPLAINED
In the UK, healthcare is free at the point of delivery. People with chronic health conditions such as Parkinson’s, heart disease or cancer can receive medical care from the NHS at no extra cost.
No such treatments exist yet for dementia. Despite dementia being a chronic, long-term health condition like many others, it is much harder to receive the dedicated support needed for a person with dementia to thrive.
Managing dementia requires daily support from a caregiver who can provide round-the-clock assistance with the day-to-day tasks of living. This type of social care is costly, and social care funding in the UK does not always rise to meet the financial needs of families.
Social care is means-tested in the UK. People who have more than £23,250 of assets are often required to pay for their own care. On average, it costs families £32,250 annually to care for a person with dementia. This is often called ‘the dementia tax’ and sadly, for many families, it is a financial burden that causes distress during a delicate time when families just want to focus on their loved ones.
This situation has prompted discussions and debates surrounding the fairness and sustainability of the current system. People with dementia and their families should not be left to shoulder the burden of funding their own care. A new and equitable system must be established that allows people with dementia to receive the support they deserve without the life-changing financial burden of financing their own care.
HOW MUCH IS DEMENTIA TAX?
At present, it is estimated that the cost of dementia care in the UK stands at a staggering £34.7 billion per year. However, it is distressing to note that approximately two-thirds of this expense is borne by people with dementia and their families.
To delve deeper into the breakdown of these costs, £13.9 billion is attributed to unpaid care provided by family members and loved ones. This figure highlights the significant contribution made by informal carers who devote their time and energy looking after their loved ones with dementia. Unfortunately, this often involves some sacrifice to their own professional and personal lives in order to provide round-the-clock care.
A considerable portion of the dementia costs, £9.3 billion, is accounted for by the expenses incurred in accessing private social care. Unlike certain other medical conditions such as heart disease or cancer, where care is provided by the NHS free of charge, individuals with dementia are compelled to cover these costs themselves.
WHAT FUNDING IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA?
NHS continuing healthcare funding is a free package of care from the NHS available to anyone identified as having a primary healthcare need. To determine if you are eligible, you will need to visit your GP who will complete an initial assessment and refer your case to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for consideration.
Some people with dementia will qualify for healthcare funding but the application process isn’t always easy. Your CCG will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your needs to determine whether you are eligible for healthcare funding.
SOCIAL CARE FUNDING
Social care funding is means-tested and allocated by your local authority. The level of funding you receive will depend on your financial circumstances, as well as your care and support needs. Social care funding is provided to people to help them with everyday activities and tasks, so if you need help with daily activities like cooking, toileting, washing or dressing, then you could be entitled to funding.
In Scotland, funding for personal care is available to everyone who is assessed as needing it. Your income, capital assets, and marital or civil partner status do not impact your eligibility.
OTHER ENTITLEMENTS AND BENEFITS
There are other entitlements and benefits available that can help cover the costs of dementia care including discounts on your council tax, attendance allowance and savings credit.
EXPERT DEMENTIA CARE AT HOME
Prestige Nursing & Care has provided highly-personalised dementia care at home for over 75 years. We are trusted by families up and down the country to provide exceptional care that empowers people with dementia to continue living in the comfort of home with greater dignity and independence.
Receiving dementia care in your own home means you can continue to live life your way, whilst benefiting from one-to-one care provided by a competent and compassionate carer. Our carers are there to provide round-the-clock, dedicated support, so you can enjoy an improved quality of life.
Find out why our clients choose Prestige Nursing & Care for a high-quality, responsive home care service.