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Recognising the importance of informal carers

There was quite a lot in the main newspapers this past week, relevant to people with dementia and those who try to be helpful to them.

We read about the family of one famous musician, seeking to raise funds in response to their experience of dementia in a loved one: : John Lydon hopes to highlight ‘torture’ of Alzheimer’s with Eurovision bid | John Lydon | The Guardian

There was more about the contribution of contact sports when pursued intensively, this time it is Rugby Union in the frame. When players become damaged, can recompense be made? Perhaps more pertinent is the question: Will future generations change their practices? Amateur players launch lawsuit against rugby authorities over brain injuries | Concussion in sport | The Guardian

This is outrage at those taking profit for providing care, when their profits are clearly beyond what is reasonable: Families still being charged thousands in care home fees after relative’s death | Social care | The Guardian

But the matter which caught my attention most was the reference to the cost-equivalents of the work done by unpaid carers: Five million people in England and Wales are unpaid carers, census shows | Carers | The Guardian

This draws on information from the Office of Public Statistics and Carers UK Census 2021 data shows increase in substantial unpaid care in England and Wales | Carers UK

This is not a new situation. It is important that it be acknowledged, understood and respected. People respond to the needs of family and friends almost as a reflex and the consequence for their own health their financial viability – they and other members of their family – come second.

But we must have a system which recognises the complex interaction between families and services supplied by others. Wed are a whole society – Dementia taxes this to the limit.

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