Report finds 80% of residents have dementia or other memory problems
Caring Times, April 2013
Eighty per cent of care home residents – more than ever thought before – have either dementia or severe memory problems according to an Alzheimer’s Society report published in February.
However, while excellent care exists, the report – Low Expectations – says less than half of these 322,000 people are enjoying a good quality of life. Low Expectations finds evidence of a deep-seated pessimism about life in care homes. Only 41% of relatives surveyed by the Alzheimer’s Society reported that their loved ones enjoyed good quality of life.
Despite this, three quarters (74%) of relatives would recommend their family member’s care home.
The report also points to a severe image crisis facing the care sector. According to a YouGov public poll commissioned by the charity, 70% of UK adults say they would be fairly or very scared of going into a care home. In addition, two thirds (64%) do not feel the sector is doing enough to tackle abuse in care homes.
The charity argues that public attitudes and scepticism about whether people with dementia enjoy a good quality of life in a care home is leading to a failure to drive up standards of care. The Alzheimer’s Society’s chief executive Jeremy Hughes said the charity was calling on government and care homes to work together to lift expectations and to strengthen existing minimum standards to boost quality of life.
“When you walk into an excellent care home it’s full of warmth, activities and interaction,” said Mr Hughes.
“But between these best examples and the worst, which often dominate headlines, there is a forgotten scandal of people with dementia who are failed and left living a life that can only be described as ‘OK’. Society has such low expectations of care homes that people are settling for average. Throughout our lives we demand the best for ourselves and our children. Why do we expect less for our parents? We need government and care homes to work together to lift up expectations so people know they have the right to demand the best.”
Low Expectations also finds that:
- Less than a third (30%) of the public believe people with dementia are treated well in care homes.
- The main factor (48%) the general public would look for in choosing a care home is training of staff.
- Less than half (44%) of relatives said opportunities for activities in their relatives’ care home were good.
- More than 9.3 million UK adults (19%) know someone with dementia in a care home.