There are approximately 700,000 unpaid carers of people living with dementia and between 60 and 70% are women. Women provide the bulk (80%) of intensive 24 hour care for people living with dementia. The government often fails to recognise that women are overwhelmingly and disproportionately disadvantaged as many have to reduce their hours or give up work altogether to take on their caring responsibilities. Taking this difficult decision, often as last resort because of inadequate support for carers of people with dementia, not only has a negative impact on their current financial status, but a lasting one – with many women (former carers) living in poverty during their retirement years.
A key aspect of our work in tide is to highlight the invaluable role that carers of people with dementia play, saving the care system £11.6bn a year, but at significant physical, emotional psychological and financial risks to themselves.
We need to recognise the significant shift in the cost of caring from the local health and care systems to over stretched family carers! Given the increasing numbers of people living with dementia, this situation is only going to get even worse!
Tide carers are actively campaigning on this issue and enabling our tide carer members tell their own story. Lesley Perkins and Nicola Winship share their own experiences with Gill Dummigan, BBC Health Correspondent, BBC North West Tonight.