Redbridge carer calls for more funding to fight onset of dementia in the UK

Carer Irene Sambrook with her mum Irene

Carer Irene Sambrook with her mum Irene - Credit: Archant

The Redbridge branch of a leading dementia carers’ charity has received nearly £250,000 in funding but “it is still not enough”, according to one support worker.

Crossroads Care, which helps Redbridge families who have been affected by dementia, was awarded £240,610 by the Big Lottery Fund last month

The money will enable Crossroads to support more Redbridge carers, giving them regular respite which allows them to continue their long-term caring responsibilities.

But Ena Martin, of Woodford Green, believes that with the number of those affected by the disease set to rise to one million by 2020 there needs to be more financial support for dementia charities.

Mrs Martin, of Woodford Green, said: “The extra funding is absolutely wonderful but it is still not enough.

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“There are so many people with dementia in this country. It is a case of ‘every little bit helps’.”

Mrs Martin has been a carer for more than 20 years, and has worked at Crossroads Care for more than a decade.

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She believes that demands of caring for a loved one with dementia means that some families are reliant on help from charities, such as Crossroads Care.

“We are a shoulder for the family,” added Mrs Martin. “It is absolutely vital they have that reassurance that they can be confident when they go out to the shops.

“It is quite tiring both physically and mentally for all the family. To do a good job you have to give a little bit of yourself (to the client).

“It is so important that no matter how confused someone is you must retain that dignity (for them).”

However despite the rigours of the job, Mrs Martin insists she would not swap her job for any other.

She said: “We do not go into homes for a short time, we go in for hours of the day.

“It is a challenging but also a rewarding job and I love it - we are not doing it for the wage.”

Case study

Irene Sambrook, 59, of Kestrel Close, Hainault.

Miss Sambrook previously cared for her father for 12 years. She now cares for her mother, also Irene, since 2009 when she first showed signs of Alzheimer’s. She cares for Irene 24 hours a day. Miss Sambrook is a former hospice worker at Haven House in Woodford Green. She enjoys going to the Turkish baths when she has some rare time off.

Having Crossroads is a lifeline. It got to a point before where I was not coping. It is so reassuring to know that my mum Irene is with someone I can trust and if something happened they would make the right decision. We have two or three carers but she does not remember them but they all interact with her really well. I made a memory book of the family full of photos and stories when mum was deteriorating, but when she deteriorated further the carers put on musicals. It is really amazing that dementia sufferers do not forget the words of songs – Max Bygraves, Frank Sinatra or the old war songs. I go to church in central London, I can do the shopping and it [having carers] allows me time to pay the bills. Sometimes I can even go to the Turkish baths and relax because no phones are allowed. Before caring for my mother, I looked after my dad for 12 years after he had a stroke. It is amazing news about the funding Crossroads has received. It will give me an extra five hours rest a week. I really wish I’d had Crossroads helping out when my father had a stroke. Caring for someone with dementia you have to deal with the constant repetition in your day. The questions: Where are you? Who am I? Where do we live? My mother has no memory. It is those same questions over and over again.

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