National Dementia Strategy

Dementia is a devastating disease, which affects many hundreds of thousands of people directly and indirectly, because it not only affects those with the illness, but also their carers, members of their families and sometimes their friends.

This disease has taken over the role Cancer had in the 1950-60 as the most feared disease in the face of the earth, as there is no cure, or universal way of slowing it down.

We also see carers, who are seeing, perhaps someone you married many years ago, changing in front of your eyes, and knowing that before many years have passed, that person will no longer be able to recognise you anymore, speak or do anything for themselves.

However we are seeing the new National Dementia Strategy unfolding around the country, and starting to see how its changes are affecting peoples lives in some places and how long awaited improvements are being made in others.

Thousands of people with this illness, carers along with families and friends have waited for this for some time, and are eager to see it working properly for the benefit of all concerned.

The changes are immense but sadly it all depends on the local PCTs to make sure that it works and works well, but we all have input and it is down to us to ensure that the patients word is heard along with the carers.

However, although the strategy goes a long to help, we should also be looking how we can start to re-train people, in an effort to change the culture and education, as far as dementia is concerned, so that everyone understands what it is like to live with the illness, and how they can cope with them in a better and understanding way.

A lot could be achieved by training staff, to treat people with dementia, with the respect and dignity they deserve, because dementia is a journey, which is taken not just by the person with the illness, but also their carers, family and loved ones.

We hear a lot about problems when someone is admitted to hospital or a nursing home, and this is usually made worse by the fact that neither, the nursing staff or the doctors understand that the person has dementia, or what dementia is. Sadly, this is lack of training, and this has to be looked into before things can get better.

I also hope that the training goes even further, and we stop hearing the horror stories, about people in the later stages being treated badly by untrained staff. In this day and age we should be having all staff being trained properly, so they understand what it may be like to have this horrible illness, and we should be paying them to do the job properly.



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