The novelist Sir Terry Pratchett has criticized the British government’s treatment of Alzheimer’s patients. Dalrymple agrees with him generally, though not technically, making the following point:
Sir Terry makes another important point, however: that when patients with Alzheimer’s disease, through no fault of their own, need to be cared for in a home they are made to pay for it by the liquidation of their savings or the sale of their house. And since they have contributed taxes throughout their working lives this is unfair and discriminatory.The promise of the welfare state was that in return for high taxation everyone would be looked after from cradle to grave but this has turned out to be like a worthless insurance policy that covers you for every- thing except that which actually does happen to you.Strictly speaking people with Alzheimer’s disease are not discriminated against: the same financial conditions apply to every old person who is admitted to a home for what- ever reason. But there is no doubt that a promise that turned out to be false was issued by successive governments. People were given the distinct impression that they need not make provision for a personal catastrophe such as Alzheimer’s because everything would be taken care of by the state.Indeed the high taxation throughout their lives prevented them from being able to make provision for such a catastrophe even if they had wanted to. They were left with the worst of both worlds, neither insurance nor the means to pay for their own care except with the one asset that it took them their whole lives to accumulate, namely their house. No wonder there is a sense of injustice.