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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2007): Care of the elderly - UK

Dementia UK

Prepared by the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the London School of Economics and the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, for the Alzheimer's Society

London: Alzheimer's Society, 2007

An estimated 700,000 people in the UK have dementia, and the numbers affected could reach a million within 20 years. Present numbers may be higher as the condition is under-diagnosed due to stigma and poor medical and care home staff training. Two thirds of those currently affected are being cared for by a relative in their own home. The anticipated rise in cases will place an intolerable strain on the UK's health and social care systems unless the right services and support are put in place. The report recommends that:

  1. dementia care is made a core part of the curriculum for nurses and social care staff
  2. national minimum standards should be developed to include dementia-specific requirements
  3. people caring for a relative with dementia at home should have access to carer support packages
  4. a national debate should be held on who pays for dementia care
  5. integrated dementia care models should be developed to bridge the gap between care at home and in a care home.

Out of the public eye

M. Hunter

Community Care, Aug. 2nd 2007, p. 16-17

The Law Lords ruled in June 2007 that residents of private care homes for the elderly are not protected by the Human Rights Act 1998. The industry has welcomed the ruling on the grounds that residents are already adequately protected by the Care Standards Act 2000. However campaigners point out that behaviour lawful under this Act includes abuses such as evicting residents for spurious reasons and washing or dressing them without respecting their dignity or privacy.

Rowntree's retirement villages

M. Sturge

Journal of Care Services Management, vol. 1, 2007, p. 341-352

This article compares the financial arrangements supporting Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust's two retirement villages, the existing Hartrigg Oaks community in York and the proposed Hartfields development in Hartlepool. The benefit of such schemes for older people is discussed, along with the challenges they face.

Social networks, befriending and support for family carers of people with dementia

G. Charlesworth and others

Quality in Ageing, vol. 8, June 2007, p. 37-44

Carers of people with dementia may experience a reduction in their social network due to a lack of opportunities to socialise and/or the stigma associated with a dementing illness. This research aimed to test the robustness of Wenger's network typology in being able to indicate which family carers of people with dementia are most likely to be in receipt of support from family, friends and neighbours. Findings suggest that the pattern of support use varies by differences in the structure of social networks. It is recommended that questions on social networks should be widely incorporated into carers' assessments to help identify the need for social support interventions and to enable sensitive selection of type of carer support to be offered.

'You can get in alright but you can't get out': social exclusion and men with dementia in nursing homes: insights from a single case study

R. Bartlett

Quality in Ageing, vol. 8, June 2007, p. 16-26

Combating social exclusion is a high priority for the UK government. This article explores how men with dementia experience and deal with social exclusion in nursing home life through a detailed case study of an individual. The move into a nursing home was experienced as social exclusion in an economic, spatial and emotional sense by this 84-year-old widower. He responded by aligning himself with other men in the nursing home and with masculine behaviours.

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