Stanley’s First Dementia Friends

Stanley Dementia Friends

Mrs Talbot is part of the bedrock of the Stanley community. So it was brilliant to see her – along with other residents and our local Councillors – at Stanley’s first Dementia Friends event with the Alzheimer’s Society.

As we learned, dementia isn’t just a natural part of ageing. It isn’t just about losing your memory but can affect how things look and feel as well as all kinds of everyday tasks. Nationally, 225,000 will develop dementia this year and for my generation – one in three will develop the disease. So it’s shocking that at the moment only half of those with dementia actually receive a diagnosis. Because that means that many are not receiving the treatment and care they need.

When I was in Government in 2009 we launched the first event National Dementia Strategy. This was about raising awareness of the condition, improving diagnosis and increasing the range of support services. Becoming one of the thousands of Dementia Friends is about taking a small first step and simply learning a little bit more about what it is like to live with dementia.

GPs do now receive financial support for dementia diagnosis. There are more support groups – including some here in Wakefield– to support dementia patients and their families. But dementia is a disease – just like cancer or diabetes. And that means we also need to invest in research to find a cure. So it is welcome that there is broad political commitment to increasing funding into dementia research.

For every person with dementia, there is also a family to think about, especially their main carer. Some carers may still be in paid employment. For them access to flexible working arrangements is vital. And whether or not they in paid work, all carers need access to support to enable them to juggle their own life with caring for a loved one.

Unfortunately we currently have a crisis in care – billions have been lost from adult social care budgets since 2010. That means that many of those who could have retained an active role in their communities, or continued to live in their own homes, may have been forced into residential care.

Keeping people in their own homes for as long as possible is almost always the best solution. But to do that with medical advancements and pressures from an ageing population means looking at NHS and social care budgets differently so that we save money and improve care.

At the moment not enough is being done. We need to recruit the next generation of homecare workers and to give better support to family carers.

If you’re worried someone isn’t getting the right support, please contact my office on 0113 253 9466 or email me or to find out more about Dementia Friends click the link on my website or call the Alzheimer’s Society careline on 0845 306 0898.

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Posted January 22nd, 2015 by Ed