Businesses in England lost £3.2bn last year as a result of people quitting their jobs or change their working patterns to care for someone with dementia, research shows.
Of the 355,000 people of working age caring for a loved one with dementia, more than 147,000 have had to reduce their work hours or have had difficulty balancing work and caring.
A further 112,000 people have had to give up their job, with many retiring early, because of their caring commitments.
The research, conducted by Centre for Economics and Business Research for Alzheimer’s Society, reveals that the cost of dementia to English businesses has increased by £1.6bn in the last four years and is set to rise to £6.3bn by 2040.
The charity said repeated cuts to already squeezed local authority budgets has meant it is impossible for many to get any care at all.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, warned that the knock-on cost to businesses is only going to get bigger, with more and more people set to develop dementia and no solution put in place to sort out social care.
“It’s devastating for people with dementia, devastating for their families and carers, a drain on the NHS and now we see how badly it’s affecting our economy,” he said. “This can’t go on. The government must overhaul social care to ensure a minimum standard of care and security for everyone with dementia. It should work like the NHS, schools and other public services, where everyone gets quality care based on their need, not their wallet.”
The charity believes high quality dementia care should be equally available to everyone who develops dementia. It said the system should have more generous eligibility criteria and an entitlement to a minimum level of support for everyone
It added that people with a health condition like dementia are charged, on average, 15% more than standard social care because of their complex care needs.