There are five dementia homes in town

WITH reference to last week's letter headlined 'For Sheila', I applaud the care your mother had and it should be the same perfect

WITH reference to last week's letter headlined 'For Sheila', I applaud the care your mother had and it should be the same perfect care for everyone, but may I say this is not the case for dementia sufferers. It is not classed as terminal, but from the onset of the illness when the brain cells are dying it is terminal. First there is the confusion and forgetting, usually followed by the aggression, incontinence, not knowing their loved ones, losing the ability to speak and walk, feed themselves, not able to swallow or chew, hearing and sometimes the sight goes. This can be over a period of several years or less and many of us carers keep our loved ones at home until the end. If we are lucky we have a very supportive doctor and practice nurses and consultant. We are permitted free incontinence pads (three a day) not nearly enough, and when the time comes and we need a hospital bed and hoist, to enable us to nurse our loved one at home, it takes about two months of continual requests to have these delivered. In the meantime you are physically lifting the patient yourself. If as we are always told the patient could go into care, there are five dementia homes in Weston to choose from, at a cost varying from £450-600 plus a week all to be borne by us, unless you have less than £25,000 and then the council will help, with contributions from us.Some of us are fortunate to have a social worker who supports you, but not all have this facility. The occupational therapists who help with the aids for nursing I found quite difficult to contact, and many visits before they would agree to any aids being supplied. Indeed often you give up and purchase them yourself. When I asked for a ramp when my husband became wheelchair bound I was told it would take about nine months to get it approved. He died six months later, and if I had not had help from a friend who made me one he could have been housebound. We had the most wonderful support from our surgery and practice nurses, consultant psychiatrist, and social worker, and I can recommend the NHS number you ring after hours. In the last two weeks of my husband's life they were so very supportive and helpful. There is also help from the charities such as Alzheimer's Society and Dementia Care Trust.The latter have the most wonderful and caring carers who come into our homes and support our loved ones to give us carers a few hours off, but of course this all comes at a cost, nothing is free. Last but by no means least there is the most wonderful day centre at Ebdon Court, the Severn Day Centre. Without it many carers would have not have lasted. The latest facts and figures in May 2007 are as follows: dementia cost the UK £17 billion per year, that's £539 per second or £46.6 million per day.Individuals caring for people with dementia save the public purse more than £6 billion per year. Some 64.5per cent of people with late onset dementia live at home. Dementia costs £25,472 per person with late onset dementia. Dementia is one of the main causes of disability later in life ahead of cancers, cardiovascular disease and stroke, yet as a country we spend less on dementia than any of these other conditions. There are 575,111 people in England today with dementia.In North Somerset we have 3,510 registered with dementia. By 2021 there is expected to be an increase of 45 per cent to 5,090.When is there going to be equality for all illness and all patients?PEARL COLLMAN - Wolvershill Road, Banwell


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