Having watched as my Dad suffered from early-onset dementia due to a head injury, I am proud to have supported Dementia Action Week earlier this month: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/celebrating-dementia-action-week
From my own experience, being presented with a diagnosis of dementia can seem a very daunting diagnosis for families but the reality is thousands of people are living well with Dementia and we must recognise this. With early diagnosis and the right support, you can live well and positively for several years.
An estimated one million people will be living with dementia by 2025 so research is crucial to understanding this condition and improving outcomes for those affected. I was proud to stand on a manifesto that committed to doubling dementia research funding and finding a cure for dementia. You can read more about that here:
In memory of the late Dame Barbara Windsor, the Government launched a new mission in 2022 to put this into practice. Research funding for dementia will rise to a total of £160 million a year by 2024, with an additional £95 million being provided to increase clinical trials and research projects.
Just last year, the government announced a new 10-year plan to focus on how new medicines and emerging science & technology can be harnessed to improve outcomes for dementia patients across the country.
Record NHS funding will help reduce the COVID backlog of dementia diagnoses, with 30,000 people facing delays during the pandemic. This will ensure timely support for the more than 900,000 believed to be living with dementia in the UK.
The plan will also focus on supporting people with their specific health and care needs while living with dementia.
Work was started by the UK government to tackle the global dementia challenge at the first G8 dementia summit in 2013 while the Challenge on Dementia 2020 was another milestone which saw one million care workers and one million NHS workers receiving dementia awareness training.
The government has already committed £375 million into research on neurodegenerative diseases over the next 5 years and the Health and Social Care Secretary has committed to working across government to boost this further.
The government is already working with those who best understand dementia, including the Alzheimer’s Society, ahead of setting out plans for tackling dementia.
Up to 40% of dementia is considered potentially preventable; what is good for the heart is also good for the brain, which is why the strategy will also include actions to tackle high blood pressure, physical inactivity, alcohol and obesity, and to promote healthy eating.
The government has already announced other measures which will help those with dementia, including:
- the government’s social care charging reforms, with more generous means testing and a lifetime cap on care costs
- the integration white paper to better link health and social care systems
- the Health and Care Act, which will put the person at the centre of care, with local systems designed to deliver seamless care and support people in retaining their independence, health and wellbeing
- levelling up healthcare and reducing disparities across the country so everyone has the chance to live longer and healthier lives, wherever they come from and regardless of their background.
In the meantime, I would encourage everyone across Mid Sussex to take up the chance to train as a Dementia Friend, which will help you learn more about what it is like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into support for those living with Dementia. More information can be found here https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk