FORMER TV news anchor Mike Edwards says families face “unimaginable hurdles” to get the appropriate level of health care for their loved ones.

And then, he says, “They have to pay for it.”

He fronts a powerful new documentary, produced by the charity Alzheimer Scotland, which aims to drive forward a campaign calling for free health care for people with advanced dementia.

In the film he details the challenges of caring full-time for his 91-year-old mother who has declined rapidly in the past two years and is shown helping her walk across the kitchen.

READ MORE: Dementia carers say loved ones should be entitled to free health care like others with a terminal illness 

“I’m very fortunate, I can be at home all day, every day, and look after my mum the way that I want her to be looked after.” he says.

Glasgow Times:

“Not everybody, of course, is as lucky as I am and some people face unimaginable hurdles to get the appropriate level of care for their loved ones.

“And they they face the prospect of having to pay for it.

“There are 32 local authorities in Scotland and they do not all have the same policies in place to support those living with dementia.”

Mike interviews Rose Whyte, from Blairgowrie, whose husband Willie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease.

Glasgow Times:

After a spell in hospital his wife Rose wanted to care for him at home but was told he would only be released to a care home and required round-the-clock care.

She was staggered to discover she would face costs of around £50,000 a year and feared she would have to sell the family home to fund his health care needs.

READ MORE: Government urged to end 'unfair' dementia health care charges 

She said: “I did not want him to die in a psychiatric unit. I had no one to help me. I was on my own. I had to get him a place to say, a place to die.”

After lengthy and complicated negotiations, Willie entered a care home with funding for half of his care. The other half comes from Rose and Willie’s savings.

She said: “It’s a terminal illness. It’s diagnosed as a disease but it’s not treated as such.”

What is advanced dementia?

People in the latter stages of dementia become increasingly frail and the level of care required will increase significantly.

They are likely to have significant memory loss and cognitive difficulties.They may not understand what is being said to them and are less likely to be able to respond verbally as they may have limited or no speech.

Changes in behaviour could include; distress, agitation or aggression. 

They may gradually lose their ability to walk, stand or get themselves up from the chair or bed. They may also be more likely to fall. 

There may suffer incontinence.

If the person with dementia is unwell and there is a sudden change in their mental abilities or behaviour that lasts several hours, it is often a sign they have delirium which can lead to hallucinations and delusions.

Scots living with advanced dementia face £50.9m in care costs every year. However, Alzheimer Scotland say this doesn’t represent all of the costs they may face.

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