The DCC Campaigners waving placards in front of the Houses of Parliament

Dear Helen Whately,

Over 700,000 family members and friends in the UK care for someone with dementia. For many, it’s an overwhelming experience. Some regularly find themselves in crisis. Many feel forgotten and alone.

We call on you, as the Minister of State for Social Care, to urgently publish a long-term, fully funded carers’ strategy. We believe that this strategy should prioritise carers’ well-being through:

  • Better identification of people who take on unpaid care responsibilities
  • Recognition of the different needs of people who care for others
  • Raising awareness of carers’ rights
  • Ensuring carers have access to free, condition-specific, personalised support and learning opportunities at every stage of their caring journey (including before diagnosis, at diagnosis, while caring for the person living with dementia, at end of life and coping with bereavement)

This strategy should go hand in hand with the objectives of the Major Conditions Strategy and support its goal of enabling people to live “healthy, fulfilled, independent and longer lives”.

All too often, people who care for others neglect their own health needs and lose their own sense of identity. “I feel like I no longer exist as an independent person” shouldn’t be a familiar saying from carers. Instead, carers should be supported to manage their caring responsibilities in a way that allows them to maintain their independence, stay healthy and have time for themselves.

We have no time to lose. Already, the social care workforce is in crisis and there are a huge number of vacancies. Every day, unpaid carers are filling the gaps. Without the necessary support, many of them are mentally and physically exhausted and reaching crisis. This state of crisis and exhaustion can have a devastating impact on the relationship between people with dementia and their carers.

We must ensure carers have rapid access to the practical and emotional support they desperately need. Otherwise, not only will people living with dementia, who are cared for by unpaid family carers, face a much higher risk of hospital admissions, but their carers risk increasingly needing healthcare support, as their physical and mental health deteriorates. This will place even more pressure on stretched services.

We must avoid this and ensure better outcomes for everyone. This is why we are asking you to urgently publish a long-term carers’ strategy.

Yours sincerely,

Frances Lawrence

Chief Executive, Dementia Carers Count

Campaign with us for better support for family carers

Dementia Carers Count is committed to working to improve the experience of carers across the UK.

We believe that national carers strategies are vital to recognising carers needs and providing clarity on the support that will be offered to them. This enables accountability and opportunities for dialogue and discussion about what further improvements are necessary.

The governments in Scotland and Wales have already committed to producing a carers’ strategies. We want carers in England to have the same parity of attention and focus.

We work in partnership with other organisations in the health and social care sector to ensure that we can focus on specific needs in the different nations.

We are members of:

Carers Wales
Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland
National Care Forum

Together, we can raise issues and speak up for family dementia carers across the UK. By supporting our campaigning, you are helping us achieve changes for carers, wherever they live.

Join hundreds of others who, like you, care about family carers and help us improve the support they receive.