It’s Dementia Awareness Week this week, which provides a useful point to assess where we are – and the direction we need to move in to make sure that people with dementia, their carers and families can be supported well and enabled to live well with the disease.

In the UK, there are about 800,000 people with dementia; it is estimated that around 400,000 people have dementia but do not know it. By raising awareness about this condition, it is hoped that more people will be diagnosed earlier, giving more time for them to come to terms with future symptoms.

There have been improvements in dementia services over the last few years and more and more people are now receiving a timely diagnosis which means they are able to access the right health and social care services at the right time for them, but there is still some way to go until people with dementia can say;                                

  • I have personal choice and control over the decisions that affect me.
  • I know that services are designed around me, my needs and my carers needs.
  • I have support that helps me live my life.
  • I have the knowledge to get what I need.
  • I live in an enabling and supportive environment where I feel valued and understood.
  • I have a sense of belonging and of being a valued part of family, community and civic life.
  • I am confident my end of life wishes will be respected. I can expect a good death.
  • I know that there is research going on which will deliver a better life for people with dementia, and I know how I can contribute. [1]

Understanding Dementia

Dementia is a term given to a group of symptoms from certain diseases which affect the brain. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia.

This Dementia Awareness Week the Alzheimer’s Society are encouraging anyone who is worried about dementia to confront their concerns and get in touch with them. Hundreds of thousands of families are touched by dementia every year and many people don't know where to turn but it is important for people with dementia and their families to know that they don’t have to face this disease alone they can contact their local authority for help advice and support.

The ADASS National Lead for Dementia will take every opportunity to ensure that the provision of good social care for people with dementia and their carers receives as much attention as possible and demonstrates the value and importance of social care working in partnership with health colleagues and carers. As part of the work programme for 2016 the ADASS National Dementia Network , Public Health England, National Health Service England, Skills for Care and Health Education England are starting to work together to make sure we start to provide a truly personalised and integrated health and social care service for people with dementia. ADASS will also encourage its members to work towards the targets identified in the PM Challenge on Dementia 2020 Implementation Plan over the next four years.

Every opportunity will be taken, either through surveys, questionnaires or conferences, to highlight the importance of social care resources being funded and resourced appropriately and wherever possible, that information will be fed into the delivery of the Prime Minister’s Implementation Plan.

Alongside this, we will seek to work with partners locally, regionally and nationally to ensure that the range of dementia initiatives can work together to improve outcomes for those most in need, to enhance the voice of the person with dementia and their carer’s in order to improve the quality of life and community engagement.

Above all please keep in mind that it is important to remember the ME in DeMEntia and to continue to recognise that people with dementia are individuals and that the disease will have affected them in different ways but they are still the same person. And finally, let us all remember that Dementia is everybody’s business.

 

[1] National Dementia Declaration