This week is Dementia Awareness Week. Jon Cruddas MP has long supported a number of dementia charities and made the case, that with an ageing population, more investment must be directed towards adult social care.

This year to mark the week and raise awareness Jon has asked local Dagenham resident and member of Tide Carers Janis Cottee to explain how the pandemic has impacted social care in our communities and the lives of carers.

For so many families with a loved one with dementia, the last year has been extremely challenging. Lots are left grieving the fact they could not say goodbye to loved ones with dementia, let alone attend their funeral, due to lockdown during the pandemic.

Some have entered a care home for the first time and that’s a difficult transition for the person living with dementia and their families, in normal times, let alone during a pandemic.

Lots of families have been unable to visit loved ones in Care homes for months on end. Quite often the person with dementia has been unable to understand why their families have “abandoned” them.

Social Care is on its knees as are most family carers. Regular day care closed and at the beginning, visits by Care workers were withdrawn.

Of all the people affected by the pandemic, people living with dementia and their caregivers have been hit hardest, many of them elderly sole caregivers, some in their 80’s and 90’s, saving the economy and Government £13.9 billion per year.

It’s fallen on charities to fight for access to loved ones in Care homes. These places are supposed to be their home (not their prison!). Some families are still “locked out” from seeing their loved ones.

And despite all of this there has still been only a mention of bringing social care “forward”.

Is all this really acceptable in a civilised society? Surely compassion alone requires more than this?

Everyone with dementia is someone’s mum, dad, brother, sister, partner, auntie, uncle, son or daughter or just a loved friend. They are also the biggest group in the UK who have to forfeit their homes to pay for their care.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has exposed the realities of a broken Social Care System, which is unfit for purpose!”

A recent campaign has called on the government to reform the social care system. You can find the letter and sign the petition here: https://socialcarereformopenletter.wordpress.com/