The UK insurance industry has raised £250,000 to support those with dementia that have been hardest hit by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst millions around the world have been forced into social distancing and isolation the effect on dementia suffers is often acute. Cut off from family, friends, and support networks, they are incredibly isolated and frightened.
Companies including Hyperion, Unum and Zurich have committed significant support, in addition to individual champions for the cause, including Simon Beale and Julian Taylor.
The Insurance United Against Dementia (IUAD) campaign launched its emergency appeal in late March, and since then people and firms have been stepping up to help. All funds raised through the appeal will support the front line services that are critical to both people with dementia and their carers alike.
People with dementia have not been included on the government’s ‘extremely vulnerable’ list, meaning they are struggling to access the day-to-day support that will help them through the current crisis. Phone calls from Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Advisors are often the difference between desperation and hope, and sometimes life and death as people who are isolating struggle to get food and medication.
The £250,000 raised to date is enough to fund 40 Dementia Advisers over the next crucial three months, reaching over 20,000 people. However, with 850,000 people living with the condition in the UK, and nearly 700,000 people providing care for a loved one with dementia, there is still some distance to go.
IUAD is calling on the wider industry to step forward and join those that have already committed their support. All donations will go directly towards frontline support for people affected by dementia.
Head of Zurich Community Trust, the charitable arm of Zurich in the UK, Steve Grimmett said: “We know that people living with or caring for someone with dementia are being hit particularly hard by the pandemic. This includes a huge number of our industry colleagues and customers, many of whom are cut off from their loved ones and support networks. IUAD and Alzheimer’s Society are providing a vital lifeline for these people, ensuring that they do not fall through the gaps.”
Alice Hardy, Head of Development, Alzheimer’s Society said the money will make a real difference
“Thank you to everyone who has support our appeal so far,” she added. “We are so grateful that once again you have shown just how much dementia matters to people across this industry. You have done so much to help people affected by dementia, but we cannot stop now.
“People affected by dementia have been left more vulnerable than ever. For many, Alzheimer’s Society is their only source of support. Without us, there is no back up. The insurance industry is playing a critical role in enabling Dementia Advisers to provide personalised support to the people who need it most throughout these challenging times, and in the months and years ahead.”
Christopher Peacock, a former carer, said: “I looked after my wife, Yvonne, for 11 years while she had vascular dementia and I received regular calls from Alzheimer’s Society. It was comforting and reassuring to know that there was an organisation which stayed in touch with me and asked how we were. It was not intrusive. It was just enough for what I needed. I know how much that meant to me.
“During the coronavirus pandemic, I know so many people will be feeling isolated. I also know just how much the calls from Alzheimer’s Society will mean to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by dementia. Please support the Insurance United Against Dementia campaign to ensure more people receive this help.”