People with dementia in Cumbria face 'perfect storm' this winter.

Survey reveals those living with dementia face ‘devastating’ isolation as rising costs mean one in ten across the North West are cutting vital care and support, warns Alzheimer's Society.

Many people living with dementia in Cumbria will be left ‘stranded in their own homes’ over Christmas.

The charity reports that amongst those struggling with cost-of-living pressures, one in ten dementia patients in the North West are cutting out vital activities, leaving them at risk of crisis this winter.

While the cost-of-living crisis impacts almost everyone, people with dementia face additional pressures as many have to pay for their own care, unlike those with other conditions that are treated by the NHS.

A new Alzheimer’s Society survey of 1,166 people affected by dementia from across the UK reveals that fees have risen on average £1,200 a year for residential care, home care and day care.

It’s estimated people with dementia spend an average of 22 hours a day at home.

The charity’s national survey revealed one in four patients struggling with the rising cost of living are retreating into one room to save on energy bills, leaving them at risk of seeing their condition worsen.

Emma Spragg, Head of Services for the North West at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “For people with dementia, cold and isolation can have a devastating impact on their condition, leaving them at real risk of crisis this winter.

“Christmas for most of us is a time of joy and togetherness, but for far too many people living with dementia it will be desperately lonely this year, with many isolated in their own homes. 

“No-one should have to choose between heating their home or getting the care they need, but as people with dementia face rising care costs, almost one in ten across Cumbria and the North West region are choosing to reduce or even stop vital social activities and one in ten have reduced or stopped using social care.

“We were disappointed that Government has delayed the care cap for two years, which would have set an £86,000 limit on what people contribute to their own care. This was a first step towards tackling crippling care costs, at a time when people with dementia are facing even bigger bills. We appreciate the additional investment for social care announced recently by the Chancellor but as we approach the difficult winter ahead, we need a long-term solution to fix our broken care system and deliver the quality, affordable care people with dementia deserve.”

More than half of those surveyed said they either don’t leave home at all or go out for less than an hour a day, and 45% of people living with dementia who live alone said they never go out.

Living fees have risen by an average of £23.20 per week (£1,206.40 a year) for people with dementia in sheltered housing, supported living, a residential care home or nursing home, with more than one in ten (12%) facing a weekly rise of more than £40 (more than £2,000 a year).

Fees for support services such as private home care services, support groups, and day care for people with dementia have increased by an average of £22.91 per week (£1,191.32 a year), with one in seven (13%) facing a weekly rise of more than £40.

If you are affected by dementia and need help, call Alzheimer’s Society’s support line on 0333 150 3456.