‘Scandalous’ lack of care home places

The number of homes equipped to care for dementia sufferers – and places in those homes – are falling dramatically, according to figures uncovered by the Conservatives.

The number of people with dementia is expected to increase by 240,000 by 2021, and projected to reach 1,735,087 by 2051.

But the number of homes able to care for these individuals has fallen by nine per cent in the past four years. Places in these homes have decreased by 10,973 – nearly a six per cent drop – in the same period.

“It is extraordinary that as the number of dementia sufferers in the UK rises, Labour has presided over cuts to the number of care homes and beds for the most needy,” said shadow health minister Stephen O’Brien.

“Gordon Brown needs urgently to wake up to the scale of the generational time-bomb we are facing, and begin to take the welfare of the elderly in our society seriously,” he added.

There are currently 700,000 people with dementia in the UK, though only a third of them live in care homes, according to Alzheimer’s Society statistics.

“It is frankly scandalous that after more than a decade in power Labour has completely failed in its pledge to end the practice of people having to sell their homes to fund long term care,” Mr O’Brien said.

The chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, Neil Hunt, said the “vast majority” of dementia sufferers are not living in homes equipped to care for them.

“The number of people with dementia is set to soar; rather than relying on dementia specialist homes, we need to gear the whole of the care home sector into delivering good dementia care.

Specialist dementia training for all care home staff and delivering person centered is an urgent priority,” he said.