A CARER from Colchester has told how she feels an “overwhelming sense of guilt” after having to move her husband of 55 years into a care home.

Lorraine Stephens, 78, made the difficult decision in August 2020, to move her husband Raymond, 77, into a care home.

He was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease about six years ago.

As he condition worsened she was left with no choice but to seek extra help.

Lorraine has now backed the Alzheimer’s Society’s calls to the Government to cure the care system as part of Dementia Action Week.

She said: “I cared for Raymond at home but as the condition progressed it became too much for me.

“I couldn’t stop him from going out on his own and on several occasions I had the police out looking for him.”

As the move came during the pandemic, Lorraine’s daily visits to Raymond were through a window.

During the pandemic he was also rushed to hospital after collapsing.

She said: “I mentioned several times to staff that he looked as if he was struggling and physically wasn’t right.

“Four months after he moved to the care home, I received a call to say he had collapsed and was taken to hospital.

“He was dehydrated, malnourished and had cracked ribs. He spent four weeks in hospital, all of which I spent trying to move him to another care home. Nothing was made easy for me to do this.

“I was told of various costs I’d have to pay and at one point there was an added £400 on top of his pension quoted. I didn’t have that kind of money spare, which gives you incredible guilt to think he might not get the best care because you simply can’t afford it.”

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Raymond was moved to a different nursing home in Essex but staff were not equipped enough to deal with his aggravated behaviour.

Another assessment saw Raymond moved to a mental health hospital for specialist care.

Lorraine added: “He’s been pushed from pillar to post and it is stressful to see. I have had less than a year dealing with the social care system and I have more questions than answers.

“The system just isn’t able to support families the way we need it. Things need to change.”

An Alzheimer’s Society investigation has revealed a 27 per cent rise in people with dementia being rushed into hospital due to inadequate social care.

The findings show that even before the pandemic, tens of thousands were admitted after suffering from infections, falls and dehydration.

Claire Stockwell-Lance, Alzheimer’s Society area manager for Essex, said: “Decades of chronic underfunding and neglect have led to a care system that’s inadequate and deeply unfair – the pandemic has exposed these failings like never before.

“People with dementia have been worst hit, accounting for over a quarter of all deaths and many more rapidly deteriorating from lockdown’s knock-on effects; family carers are exhausted.

“There’s now more people than ever fighting for scarce dementia care. With no drugs to cure or slow down the condition, it’s social care that people with dementia rely on every day. But lack of time and dementia-specific training among the overworked and underpaid care workforce means people with dementia aren’t getting the support they need, either in their homes or in residential care, leading to emergency admissions and more pressure on the NHS.”

To find out more about the campaign visit alzheimers.org.uk.