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Dementia costs crisis deepens after it emerges 770,000 people have been refused state support

More than 770,000 elderly people have been refused state support since the Government pledged to reform the broken care system.The shocking figure emerged amid growing pressure on the new prime minister to tackle the social care crisis that burdens families with crippling dementia costs.More than 20,000 readers have signed the Mail's petition to end the dementia care cost betrayal since it was launched on Saturday. As support flooded in, official figures revealed that 895 people a day have been turned down for local authority care since ministers promised reform in March 2017.It means more than three quarters of a million families have had to find the money to care for elderly relatives, during which time politicians have delayed their plan six times.Anyone who has more than £23,250 in savings – including the value of their home – is rejected for state-funded care. In the two years and four months since the green paper was promised, nearly 9,000 families have had their savings run down below this threshold, meaning they have become eligible for support having been originally turned down. In the same period, 66,684 people have died while waiting for care.Those with dementia – who make up about two-thirds of those in care – have borne the brunt of the delay.The figures, collected from councils by NHS Digital and analysed by the Age UK charity, lay bare the scale of the crisis facing hundreds of thousands of families.Last week the Mail launched a campaign calling for ministers to end the scandal. An exclusive poll for this newspaper found that one in three people with dementia have been forced to sell their home to pay for care.Since then, Tory leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have both echoed our call for urgent reform.Families have spent £15 billion over the past two years supporting relatives who have the illness. And yesterday it emerged that families are spending twice as much on fees for relatives in care homes as they did a decade ago.Research shows that 'self-funding' for care home places rose from £3.97 billion in 2007 to £7.74 billion last year – an increase of 95 per cent.Age UK has calculated that since March 2017 more than a million older people have developed a need for care, such as needing help with washing or dressing, that has not been met.Caroline Abrahams, from Age UK said: 'It is appalling that so many older people who need help have been turned down for care, that well over a million are living with an unmet need for care and, most tragically of all, so many have died waiting for their care to be put in place.'In the real world older people and their families are suffering every day in huge numbers because of ministers' lack of firm action on social care.'There is a desperate need for certainty and stability, to help providers to hold on to good staff and deliver great care.'The Mail is calling for an urgent formation of a cross-party group to tackle the funding crisis – tasked with dealing with the issue once and for all. In the meantime, the Government must set up a 'dementia fund' to help families pay the extra cost of supporting those affected by dementia. And it must end the 'double subsidy' which sees those deemed able to afford to pay for care subsidising the costs of support for those funded by the state.Sally Copley, director of policy at the Alzheimer's Society, said: 'It's frankly immoral that over three quarters of a million people have been denied their right to financial support to pay for vital care, especially when the majority are likely to have dementia.'It doesn't have to be like this. With a sustainable long-term plan for funding the care system, we could finally see good quality dementia care in this country, for everyone who needs it.'Sophie Andrews, chief executive of Silver Line, a charity providing support to older people, said: 'There has been a worrying lack of focus and direction which has led to the inexplicable delay to the social care green paper.'People facing a dementia diagnosis, and their families, have so much to worry about as it is without having to face this ongoing uncertainty about how to pay for care. We fully support the campaign to make this a priority now.''If Dad had cancer like Mum, not dementia, we wouldn't have had to pay £100,000 for his care': Baroness Boycott, a patron of the Alzheimer's Society, laments a burning injusticeby Baroness BoycottMy Dad, like so many of his generation, was careful about money. He counted every penny. He was the kind of man who thought that having an overdraft was stealing from the bank. He worked hard all of his life in the hope that he would one day be able to leave my sister and me with a nest egg when he died.But, in 2001, any hope of that was wiped out in one short, shocking sentence in a doctor's office: 'I'm sorry to have to tell you, but your father has Alzheimer's.'I clutched my husband's hand. The words filled me with dread. But even then, I couldn't begin to imagine the trauma we would have to endure during the next three years before my Dad's death – not just the awful physical and mental symptoms, but the callous refusal of government to assist our family with the huge financial cost.As the Daily Mail revealed last week, one in three people with dementia have to sell their home to pay for care that can cost as much as £100,000 a year.Thanks to an outrageously misguided definition of what constitutes 'health care', the expense of carers, equipment and care homes are treated by the Government not as medical bills but as 'social' costs – to be met by the sufferer.The state steps in only if the patient has less than £23,250 in savings, and that includes the value of any property.That dementia is singled out in this way defies belief. It is nothing short of scandalous that hard-working families have shelled out £15billion in the past two years to care for loved ones. If my father had been diagnosed with cancer – as my Mum was, almost 50 years ago – the NHS would have surrounded him with care and concern, practical and emotional support. But because he had an illness that was digging into his brain, he had to be cared for at his own expense.It is as though people with dementia are being punished by our Government for having the temerity to die that way.At first, before I understood wh ...Read more

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