There is a lot of talk about the stigma of Dementia, and I think I would like to explore it. When I look at all of this I am not sure whether stigma is the right word, I rather think that it should be more like discriminated against, just like third class citizens.
When we consider that 20 years ago cancer was still a dirty word which was stigmatised, and people who had it were treated as if they had a dirty sexual disease, thankfully this has now changed.
Dementia on the other hand was always treated in many places as madness and I do not think it has changed to day in a lot of places, but this is due to lack of understanding by the general public and lack of leadership by the government and some of the medical profession.
These poor people who have this horrendous illness are the victims and are treated like old day lepers by Society. The stigma attached to this illness is unreal and unacceptable in this day and age. We are dealing with an illness which is not self inflicted or asked for and yet it seems that some of today’s society treat us as if we had an infectious disease.
It does not help when support is removed from the one place one should get it from and that is this Government, who created (NICE ) National Institute for Clinical Excellence which was set up by the government. There are few drugs today which can help, if anything they can slow the progress of the illness but not stop it, and yet they have been stopped for the early stages of the disease which is when they are needed.
The fact that these drugs slow the illness down is something in this day and age and yet NICE are trying to rubbish the results by saying they do not work and are not cost effective. Does Aspirin work for everyone, No it does not.
But this government set up NICE to save money no matter what the consequences were and that is immoral and unjust. Not only have these people got a disease which is in thinkable, many lost their jobs through it and sometimes like myself they lost their homes which went with the jobs. We all paid our taxes for years and our National Insurance which the government set up to protect us when we got older, but never once said that we would be left with nothing if we got Dementia.
We also have Members of Parliament who have sent out letters saying the even if the government tried to overturn the NICE decision they would never back the Government. When you look at this it is not just the Dementia patients who are suffering but all illnesses including cancer. No one can get medication anymore. We therefore need to get rid of this stigma from the top down over and like it or not the worse offenders are the government themselves.
We need to re-educate the nation about the illness so that everyone knows that we are normal people who had the misfortune to get an illness which closes the brain down. Once we have achieved this people who have Dementia will start to admit that they have it, and talk about it rather than try to hide it.
We also need to get better services in England so that we get the same treatment and services as the other parts of the UK, and not less as we are now.
Not only that, but the people who look after us, and care for us are treated with little or no respect by the government. Care homes are now so expensive that our carers are expected to look after us at home with little or no help from the government services. We are left to support from charities who have been short changed the by government as well and now find it increasingly difficult to find funds to keep going.
Sadly now people who self inflict are more liable to get better treatment than those who are inflicted with a brain disorder such as Alzheimer's or Dementia.
The costs of smoking and drink problems are something which is on the rise at a rapid rate and yet nothing is done to stop it. Drug problems are the same, as well as this we now have a problem with obesity which is likely to get worse.