THE BLOG

Why The 'Dementia Tax' Debate Can't Be Over

16/06/2017 17:02
Chris J Ratcliffe via Getty Images

The autopsy of this election campaign reveals that the 'dementia tax' debacle was a defining issue, one that undoubtedly contributed to the shock result.

Dementia has long been the most discriminated against condition - despite being caused by diseases of the brain, it is dismissed as 'social' rather than 'medical.' As a result, the majority of those affected have to fund their own care.

While the 'dementia tax' isn't new, what this election campaign achieved was to bring this terrible inequity - and the realisation that families up and down the country are being forced to sell their homes and part with a lifetime of savings to pay for essential care - to the fore.

Put simply, the solution put forth in the Conservative Manifesto misjudged the far reaching impact of dementia and its grip on the electorate. The outrage sparked on doorsteps, and the unified outcry from all sections of society, revealed a public deeply troubled by what a future could hold should they develop this condition as opposed to some other.

At Alzheimer's Society, we were inundated by people affected by dementia, angry and upset over the Conservative's fudged manifesto pledge. One branded the situation a 'miserable lottery', while another urged us to 'tell the Government dementia is a disease, it's not a lifestyle choice.' A third said they felt their husband had first been mugged by dementia, and 'is now being mugged by the Government.' They argued 'if he had MS or cancer, his care would be funded. It is grossly unfair.'

As we take stock of the implications of a hung-parliament and the uncertainty this brings, one thing is clear. The electorate have sent politicians a thundering message about the grip of dementia on lives up and down the country.

For years the social care crisis has dogged political debate, too big and unwieldy to tackle head on and mushrooming by the minute. The social care crisis is a dementia crisis - two thirds of people receiving care have dementia. Their experience, and that of their family carers, should be listened to. We cannot have policies to tackle social care plucked out of the air.

We know as a new government forms, Brexit will demand much of the attention. But if politicians don't listen to the voices of the 850,000 people in the UK with dementia now we will never reach a day when a diagnosis is free from unjust financial punishment. Public outcry has shown the electorate is united against dementia and won't let this issue lie.

Sign the petition now and join us in calling on the UK Government to create a better system of care.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS