The growing crisis in dementia care looks set to cost businesses a whopping £6.3 billion in lost working hours by 2040, as family carers are forced to give up work to care for loved ones.
Research by the Alzheimer’s Society has found that businesses in England lost £3.2bn last year, because people have had to quit their job or change their working patterns to care for someone with dementia.
The research, conducted by Centre for Economics and Business Research on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Society, reveals that the cost of dementia to English businesses has increased by £1.6bn in the last four years and is set to rise to £6.3bn by 2040.
There are currently 335,000 people who are providing unpaid care for a person with dementia, and around 147,000 of these have had to reduce their work hours, or have experienced difficulty balancing work and caring.
Furthermore, more than 112,000 people have had to give up their job, with many retiring early, to care for a friend or relative with dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society warns that businesses are ill-prepared for the growth in Alzheimer’s cases and how this will impact on workers who may be expected to care for dementia sufferers, and has called on the government to do more to solve the unfolding crisis.
The charity is calling for:
- Radical action is needed to reduce the cost to individuals while improving the quality and accessibility of dementia care
- High quality dementia care should be universal – it should be equally available to everyone who develops dementia. We need a system that has more generous eligibility criteria and an entitlement to a minimum level of support for everyone
- Reform must recognise the unique injustice in the dementia care system, where people with a health condition, dementia, are charged a ‘dementia tax’ – on average 15% more than standard social care, because of their complex care needs, with many having to sell their homes to pay for care.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Up and down the country families are desperately trying and often failing to get the good quality dementia care their loved ones need.
“Instead, over a hundred thousand people have had no choice but to leave their jobs and try to care for their loved ones themselves.
“The knock-on cost to businesses is only going to get bigger, with more and more people set to develop dementia, and no solution put in place to sort out social care.
“It’s devastating for people with dementia, devastating for their families and carers, a drain on the NHS and now we see how badly it’s affecting our economy.
“This can’t go on. The Government must overhaul social care to ensure a minimum standard of care and security for everyone with dementia.
“It should work like the NHS, schools and other public services, where everyone gets quality care based on their need, not their wallet.”