Social care faces an annual funding gap of £2.3bn by 2021 – by which time nearly a million people in the UK will be living with dementia. With no way to slow or stop the diseases that cause dementia, it is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer.
While the NHS can’t offer people with dementia the same options as for other long-term conditions – because there is no cure or effective medical treatment – people with dementia must rely on the cash-starved and crumbling social care system. The social care and dementia crises go hand in hand.
Solving the care crisis goes beyond throwing money at the situation. Funding is desperately needed, of course, but we can’t simply pour more cash into a fundamentally flawed system. After decades of squeezed budgets and successive governments failing to put a long-term plan in place, we have a limited social care offering that too often leaves people with dementia footing the bill.
In the battle to meet rapidly rising demand with ever-shrinking resources, care providers must be as efficient and effective as possible. So why does investment in dementia research heavily focus on a cure for future generations, while less than 5% of funding goes to researching the best care possible for all those affected today?
The need for a cure for dementia is as pressing as ever, but we also need care research to develop practical solutions that can benefit people with the condition and their carers. Improving knowledge and practices among health and social care professionals, as well as the quality and inclusivity of the wider system, is just as important as developing medical treatments.
Source: Dementia research must study care as well as cure : The Guardian