Astonishingly, and despite these sad facts, there is no concrete government action plan on the horizon to deal with this urgent and growing health care challenge, a challenge that has been further exposed by Covid-19.
Covid-19 has not caused this problem. It has merely brought into sharp focus just how neglected and vulnerable people with dementia and their families really are.
Across the country, local Alzheimers organisations provide help to their communities in the form of services like support and activity groups, day programmes and Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST).
These services are a lifeline for many. But the outbreak of Covid-19 means that until its safe, these can no longer take place in a face to face capacity. In fact, many older people have already been staying home for longer than the formal lockdown period, and will likely need to do so for some time yet.
If the Covid-19 crisis has any upside, it’s the fact that, for the first time in decades, the plight of older people is receiving long-overdue attention and concern. And it is encouraging to hear that the community is stepping up and finding innovative ways to help. But we’ve still got a long way to go on our journey. As lockdown restrictions ease and life starts to get back to normal for lots of us, wouldn’t it be great if doing more and better for older and more vulnerable people in our communities could be more than a blip on the nation’s radar?