A QUARTER of all UK Covid fatalities had dementia: Huge death toll among elderly is revealed
- One in four coronavirus deaths have been among those battling with dementia
- Nine in ten families said the pandemic accelerated their loved one’s symptoms
- Charities say looking after people with illness must be a key legacy of Covid-19
More than 34,000 dementia sufferers have died from Covid-19, research published today shows.
One in four of all virus deaths have been among those with the illness – but care home visiting bans have denied families the chance to say goodbye.
Today’s study lays bare the devastating toll of lockdown on the nation’s 850,000 care home residents living with dementia.
Nine in ten families said the pandemic had accelerated their loved one’s symptoms, the Alzheimer’s Society found.
Kate Lee at Alzheimer’s Society is urging the Government to support people affected by dementia
Seven in ten care home residents have dementia, but most have not had meaningful visits for almost a year.
Almost a quarter of family members have not been able to see their relative with dementia at all for over six months, the survey reveals. This isolation and loneliness has caused some residents to lose the ability to eat, drink and speak.
More than a quarter of family members who care for someone with dementia said they witnessed an ‘unmanageable decline’ in the health of their relative.
Of the 124,978 Covid-19 deaths registered up to February 12, an estimated 27.5 per cent had dementia.
Dementia charities are now demanding that looking after people with the illness must be a key legacy of the pandemic.
Boris Johnson promised to ‘fix social care once and for all’ in his first speech as Prime Minister nearly two years ago, following a major Daily Mail campaign highlighting the need for reform.
His Government is yet to publish a plan for the sector. Experts believe Britain’s broken care system is a major reason the country has the worst death toll in Europe. The charities are also urging ministers to ensure meaningful indoor visits are the default position in all care homes by next week.
Dementia charities are now demanding that looking after people with the illness must be a key legacy of the pandemic
Kate Lee, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘Coronavirus has shattered the lives of so many people with dementia. Family carers, too, have been buckling under the strain.
‘We urge the Government to support people affected by dementia whose lives have been upended, putting recovery plans in place but also making the legacy of Covid-19 is a social care system that cares for the most vulnerable when they need it.’
Nicci Gerrard, co-founder of John’s Campaign which campaigns for the right of dementia sufferers to have visits from loved ones, said: ‘During this past terrible year, those living with dementia have endured incalculable damage, loneliness and suffering.
‘People have died of sadness, and those who love them will have to live with the grief and guilt of that.
‘Now we must all come together to say that this is not the kind of society we want to live in and grow old in: It must never happen again.’
Dr Hilda Hayo, chief executive at Dementia UK said: ‘We urgently need to see the national and local support in place for families going forwards.’ The Alzheimer’s Society surveyed 1,001 people who care for a family member, partner or someone close to them with dementia.