Wigan named as dementia timebomb

Dementia timebomb
Dementia timebomb

WIGAN is sitting on a dementia timebomb, experts claimed today.

Within the next 15 years the area may have up 6,000 sufferers aged 90 and over as the overall number of patients rockets by a third.

There is a predicted increase of 34 per cent in the number of people with dementia over the next 15 years

Stuart Cowley

And the shock new figures predicted by the council have triggered a call for the town hall to financially help support the borough’s care homes for the increasing pressure on accommodation they will face in future because of the illness.

Wigan’s Adult Social Care (Social Services) department is proposing investing £670,000 - a 12 per cent increase - to help the private sector provide high quality services for residents with the most complex and challenging by establishing a new specialist category of care.

The cash injection hopes to guarantee a “fair” fees structure that can strengthen the “vibrant and sustainable” private sector care market while meeting the long term needs of Wigan’s aging population.

Wigan’s director of adult social care Stuart Cowley said that such investment in the care home market - there are 50 registered facilities across the borough - was part of the town hall’s Deal commitment which sees the authority working in partnership with ethical providers.

Wigan’s care home market is made up of six care home groups operating 20 homes across the borough, while the remaining 30 care homes are small groups in private ownership.

He said: “We are proposing to use the opportunity provided by the Better care Fund as a lever to shape the market so that the residential and nursing home market is aligned to our housing and care strategy.

“People people with less complex needs will be supported in a range of high specification care solutions such as Extra Care and the residential and nursing home market supports people with complex needs, with a particular focus on dementia.

“There is a predicted increase of 34 per cent in the number of people with dementia over the next 15 years.

“Our recent experience over the winter period highlighted a lack of in-borough residential and nursing home vacancies for people with dementia and additional needs.

“As the number of people with dementia increases this becomes an increasingly critical issue.

“The make up of the market and long term challenges in terms of capacity and quality requires a meaningful intervention to enable us to meet the emerging needs of Wigan residents.

“Adult Social Care has therefore worked in partnership with Wigan Clinical Commissioning Group to maximise opportunities within the Better Care Fund to support the system-wide strategic vision for Wigan.”

Base levels for the new fees paid for dementia care have already seen a three per cent increase on last year’s levels.