Free Care Hope for Patients Hit by Early-Onset Dementia

Daily Mail (London), December 16, 2013 | Go to article overview

Free Care Hope for Patients Hit by Early-Onset Dementia


Byline: Julie-Anne Barnes Health Reporter

DEMENTIA patients under the age of 65 could be given free personal care after a pledge to close a legal loophole that sees some sufferers miss out.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said he would tackle an anomaly that has meant extra worry for carers of those hit by early-onset dementia.

Other patients who require intensive and ongoing care could also benefit from the move.

Mr Neil's announcement forms part of a review of the controversial continuing care packages that have been poorly administered in some parts of Scotland.

The Scottish Daily Mail has already revealed a number of cases where families were forced to sell their homes to meet the cost of caring for loved ones, despite believing they were entitled to a continuing care package.

Mr Neil made his comments after meeting the wife of former Dundee United footballer Frank Kopel, who was diagnosed with the condition when he was 59.

Amanda Kopel said she was paying as much as [pounds sterling]350 a month for the care her husband needs.

She has been campaigning for a year for free care to be extended to those who are diagnosed before they reach 65.

Mr Neil said he was 'very sympathetic' to the issues raised by Mrs Kopel and added: 'What I am looking at is how to get greater consistency so that people, irrespective of age, get the services they need.' Free personal care - which costs about [pounds sterling]450million per year - was a flagship policy introduced by the Scottish Government in 2002 following devolution.

However, the SNP fully backs the programme amid soaring costs of caring for Scotland's ageing population. …

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