Friday, 9 August 2013

National Dementia Action Alliance


As someone who has Lewy Body Dementia, I was a little sceptical at first about the National Dementia Action Alliance, as I could not see what good it could do, but now I can see a dramatic change in the way society in general looks at this illness.

I can say now that I am honoured to be part of this group which is making a real difference
 
A lot of charities and national bodies have joined up to make a real difference to the way dementia is portrayed, as now things are starting to look much healthier than many expected.

Many like myself thought that this would end up as a glorified talking shop, with people being involved, just for the sake of it, but my fears have been allayed and we have been proved wrong.

I think the main reason for this is that many people still feel that dementia is still classed as an old age illness, as is therefore not worth bothering with.

But in actual fact there are over 16-000 younger people in the UK alone, with this illness and this number is growing fast. The ages of these people can be as low as 30 years old and in a few cases much younger, so dementia is certainly not age related, but can strike at any age.

Like many people I get very annoyed when I hear the press talking about the illness, but then they go on to show pictures of elderly people, rather than showing pictures of people who are different ages.  

Some of the worst offenders are the public services who are supposed to raise awareness of dementia.

However through the Dementia Action Alliance we are now seeing large companies and Government bodies,  coming on board to see what problems need addressing, and how they can help those with the illness have a more dignified time, rather than being told that nothing can be done to help.

The Alzheimer’s Society was given responsibility for steering this group, alongside other major dementia charities.
I was honoured to be asked to speak at the Launch of the Government's Cross Party Committee on Dementia at the House of Commons, as I am delighted at the way this group has got its teeth into Dementia, and are genuinely trying to get things changed in all sections of the illness. Things have moved on since then and I look back with great pride, as it was an achievement. Now we look to the DAA to take this further

The facts are as follows:-

The Dementia Action Alliance is formed by well over 480 organisations getting together to try to deliver the UK National Dementia Declaration; aimed at a common set of values set up by people with dementia and their carers, assisted by charities like the Alzheimer’s Society.

The idea is to set out a vision of how people with dementia and their families can be supported and encouraged to live well with the illness   

http://www.dementiaaction.org.uk/

Alliance members work towards delivering this vision through committing to actions within their organisation and undertaking joint programs of work. Members are from charities, Health Trusts, Local Authorities, Royal Colleges and, local businesses.

The DAA is to achieve the UK National Declaration - but it would be great if other DAAs could be formed in other countries and we all link together - that would be amazing!

There are meetings at regular intervals both at Alzheimer’s Society Central office where the next meetings program is sorted out followed by a quarterly meeting where everyone gets together to hear about new issues and progress reports 

These meetings are attended by professionals along with those charities and businesses involved and lastly but certainly not lastly people with dementia and carers, where everyone can air their views about this subjects being discussed.

Through this I think in the future we will see dementia in a different light, and hopefully this will dismiss the stigma and other fears about the illness. I know that I am not the only one hoping for a better life for those who are affected by this illness and those who care for them
As I see it the more UK companies and charities we get involved in this project the better it will be, as long as the are genuine, I say this because I have heard of some who claim to be dementia friendly but their premises are anything but dementia friendly but I live in hope that this will change in the future  

 I also think that by encouraging companies and business to get involved we are raising awareness of dementia, and in the end we will make every town, city and business dementia friendly.
After this we are well on the way to putting dementia at the front of every agenda instead of it being hidden.  

So please come on in and join us and help us make the country and world a better place for all who have this illness

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