Living well with dementia
I have always said that it is possible to live well with dementia, if things go right from the start.
It's all about getting an early diagnosis, like any other serious illness, and having support from family and friends where possible right from the start.
I know that some people do not have family for support and my heart goes out to them, but there are also people who have family around them, but never get support, because people for some reason back away when a person gets dementia, and this makes mee feel sick at times. Some family members refuse to accept the diagnosis, and this had a knock on effect.
But if we get support from people who mean a lot to us then the sky is the limit.
However we must also try these days to get support from doctors, nurses, social workers and everyone else in the health and public services. This is taking a very long time and is hit and miss at times, a post code lottery that many in government circles deny, but whether they like it or not it does exist.
This should also take in people like physiotherapists and occupational therapists, who give us a lot of support. I will however say that some of these people do not understand dementia as well as we would expect.
I did however have an assessment with a physiotherapist a week ago, and was staggered when a young lady walked into the room, because she looked as if she should have been in school, but she was brilliant, and very helpful
My wife said later that It is because I am getting old and this makes nursing staff etc look so much younger.
Many universities are training nurses to understand dementia and that is a brilliant start, but we also need doctors and consultants to start understanding our problems.
I am honoured and privileged to work with Northumbria University, where I talk to graduate nurses on a regular basis, and I am thrilled at their standard of nursing training, and dementia work they are doing.
The other day I heard about a consultant who would not listen to a carer, because she was not his patient, I have to ask what planet this person came from in this day and age.
I think we should also take on board that one person with dementia, is not the same as norther person with the illness. There are so many variations of this illness, that no two people, even two with the same type of dementia are the same. We are all individuals, with totally individual symptoms and problems
Let us hope that before long dementia training will be given to all staff in the public and health sector, so we are treated with dignity and respect, the same dignity and respect that others demand and expect as their right