HALF of all Scottish care home residents suffer from dementia, shocking new figures have revealed.
More than 16,000 Scots were officially diagnosed as having the illness in 2011 – up two thirds in just under a decade.
Charities are warning residential care providers to ensure staff are properly trained to cope with the soaring number of Scots being diagnosed with dementia
Experts warn that dementia is “one of the largest neglected global health challenges of our generation.”
Official figures show that the disease already afflicts around 82,000 Scots and is expected to double over the next 25 years.
Kirsty Jardine, of Alzheimer Scotland, said the charity received phone calls on its helpline from families concerned about poor care in nursing homes.
She said: “This demonstrates how essential if is staff are fully aware of the illness and trained to deal with it.
“There are far more resources out there today than there were a few years ago.
“We still get calls to our helpline from families concerned about standards in care homes. This shows there is still a lot of work to do.
“One of the major problems we have is that we do not have value care home jobs,” she added.
Official stats released by the Scottish Government stats reveal the number of care home residents with medically diagnosed dementia has risen from 9,758 in March 2003, to 16,276 in March 2011.
The number of people identified as having dementia but no formal diagnosis dropped from 4,5999 to 2,896.
It comes in the wake of repeated claims that dementia sufferers in care homes are being complied with drugs to make them easier to manage.
The research also reveals care home fees in Scotland are rising to almost twice the rate of inflation.
The average bill for each pensioner in Scottish residential care is now £30,600 annually, up 22% on five years ago.
Over this same period the consumer price index rose by 13%.
These figures mean more of people’s assets will have to be used to pay for care – forcing them to sell their homes.
Tory local government spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: “This new information makes it even more imperative to look at how services are provided, because a major rethink is needed.
“We have to look at preventative spend, and having people remain in their own homes is best for that.
“That would also put a halt on these outrageous charges becoming even more expensive. It’s not an easy problem to solve, but we must look at a better way of doing this.”
Residential care home residents with assets above £23,500 must pay the “bed and board” costs of their accommodation themselves.
Those without assets will see their care bill paid for by the state.
The average weekly residential care home bill in Scotland was £589 a week last year, up on £482 five years earlier.
The Scottish Government is currently considering how care for older people should be delivered in the future.
It has, however, announced plans to ensure newly diagnosed dementia patients and their families receive a year of specialist care and support.