Relatives battle for dementia care help

A FAMILY living with dementia is today frustrated and demanding improvements in specialist care in Suffolk.

By JAMES MARSTON

james.marston@eveningstar.co.uk>

A FAMILY living with dementia is today frustrated and demanding improvements in specialist care in Suffolk.

As first reported in The Evening Star in July, Janet and Lee Bowen care for Janet's 76-year-old mum Mary Stevens at their two bedroom flat because of a lack of specialist care.

Mrs Stevens has suffered from Alzheimer's Disease for the last two-and-a-half years.

Today, despite their pleas for help from care providers Suffolk County Council, a place has not been found for Mrs Stevens.

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Mrs Bowen, 51, is forced to sleep on the floor, she is finding her mother's condition harder and harder to cope with and because of work commitments her ailing mum still has to be left alone at times.

Mrs Bowen, of Newnham Court in the Chantry area of Ipswich, said: “Mum is getting worse as her Alzheimer's is taking hold.

“We are still waiting for a space for mum in a specialist home. We have been told we can look round a home but we haven't been offered a place.

“We are fed up, we are frustrated and we are angry. I don't know how much longer I can cope like this.”

As Mrs Stevens' condition worsens the family is finding looking after her increasingly difficult.

Mr Bowen, 24, said: “My grandmother needs specialist care. She deserves a better quality of care than we can provide.

“We just keep hoping something gets sorted.”

Mrs Bowen said she is pleased she has been able to organise respite care for her mum next month.

She said: “The day after our story was published in The Evening Star we had a call offering us respite care so at least I can take a holiday now.”

A social worker has also been assigned to the family.

Mrs Bowen said: “We get on really well with our social worker and it is a relief to know someone knows about our situation. We were told mum was top of the list a year ago but we are still waiting.

“There are still not enough spaces for people with dementia. There must be so many other people in a similar situation. There needs to be more care homes.”

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for adult and community services, said: “We have continued to work closely with Mary Stevens and her family, agreeing a programme of care which includes respite and twice weekly day care.

“We are pleased that we have a good relationship with the family and are actively working to find the best possible long term solution.”

For too long the older generation has been overlooked as people suffer care homes closing, dwindling pensions, hospital wards closing, and not enough carers in the community.

Our new Golden Years series aims to make sure that the older years really are Golden Years.

We will:

Listen to our older generation.

Fight for dignity in old age.

Make sure older people get the voice they need to raise the topics that matter to them.

Crusade on issues affecting pensioners.

Inform older people about the help and assistance available for them.

Dig out those inspirational stories that show old age need not be the barrier to a fulfilled and active life.

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