AT last, if Andrew Dilnot’s report is anything to go by, it looks as though things are starting to move in the right direction for those who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s who are in need of specialist care, but adjustments to money and benefits are only part of what needs to change in the treatment and care of the elderly.
Most importantly there needs to be a statutory definition that separates those in need of social care and those needing medical care. For far too long now, local authorities have been able to move the goal posts of definition to suit their own requirements rather than meet the needs of the patient, especially when the patient just happens to own their own home.
It is too easy to label someone with high medical dependency, as only needing social care and the result is that they may not get the treatment they need for their condition and they lose everything they have worked for all their lives.
Another aspect of elderly care that needs to change is the response to reports of abuse by carers.
It is a fact that most abuse, especially financial abuse, comes from close friends or relatives of the patient, people who should care, but they will often give the impression that they are working hard looking after the patient when in fact they are milking bank accounts and running up debts in the name of the patient, who often cannot speak for themselves.
Banks in particular are very lax in many aspects of security and will often refuse to talk to the honest person who is trying to bring the financial abuse to an end.
There also needs to be more willingness on the part of the law enforcement agencies to take seriously the offence of theft from the elderly, which can involve large amounts of money or fraudulent use of bank debit and credit cards.
Yes, all the right words are being spoken to this government, but are they listening?
Ian S Hodgson