Under-provision of personal care budgets for people with dementia

The Alzheimer’s Society has called on local authorities to increase provision of personal-care budgets (which can be used for cultural and social activities) for people with dementia. Less than a third of people receiving social care support for problems with memory and cognition have a personal budget, despite the government’s aspirations for a person-centred care and support system.

The Care Act gives everyone who is receiving support from social services the legal right to a personal budget, offering them greater choice and control over their care and support. An Alzheimer’s Society audit of local authorities’ personal budgets processes has highlighted how many councils are failing to make people with dementia aware of their entitlement to a personal budget.

Alzheimer’s Society has produced a personal budgets guide of easy and cost-effective actions councils can take to improve the personal budgets process for people with dementia and their carers.

Despite clear benefits, comparatively few people with dementia have a personal budget and face significant barriers when trying to access them. In 2015-16, a person receiving support for memory and cognition problems was almost half as likely to have a personal budget as someone receiving physical support, and over a third less likely than a person with learning disabilities. Of the 16,060 people with a personal budget for memory and cognition support, just 19% managed this for themselves with a direct payment, the rest were managed by their local authority.

In a report in 2012, LAHF examined the potential for personal budgets for older people and people with dementia and noted many of the likely barriers to delivering arts activities through the use of personal budgets. LAHF’s report for the Baring Foundation can be found here: http://baringfoundation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/NewAgeLAHF.pdf