When interviewed on ITVs This Morning, Prime Minister David Cameron outlined plans to invest £10million in research and £50million in improving NHS care for dementia sufferers, as well as £2.4million to recruit a million volunteers to be trained in spotting signs of early dementia and providing basic care for patients.
Cameron criticised attitudes towards the illness and agreed with the health minister Jeremy Hunt who has likened the state of dementia care in this country to “where cancer was in the 1960s”.
The move has been welcomed by care providers says Robert James, director at Special Care 4U, which provides specialist live-in carers for those who need constant care but wish to remain living in their own homes.
“The government is right when they say there is a taboo surrounding dementia. There’s no doubt that some people can confuse the early stages on the onset of dementia with old age, and this can delay the start of treatment. Many people are reluctant to visit their GP to voice their concerns out of a fear they will be accused of wasting their GP’s time. With more people trained in recognising the signs, hopefully many more people will start to receive treatment sooner and this should increase their chances of being able to live comfortably with their illness.
“Since one in three people will develop dementia, it’s essential that more people become aware of its characteristics and that we all start talking about it more. It is believed that only 40% of sufferers have actually been formally diagnosed, while the remaining 60% are suffering in silence. These people are likely to feel isolated, scared and alone, so this initiative could not come at a better time.
“It is entirely possible that with the right care and support, a person with dementia can live a happy, fulfilling and independent life which is not defined by their illness. To achieve this requires three key elements: Firstly, willing on the part of the person themselves to seek and accept help. Secondly it requires a certain degree of expertise and quality of specialist professional care to properly diagnose and treat the patient appropriately according to the stage and progression of their illness. And finally, but importantly, it requires the support and cooperation of the family, friends and carers of the patient to sustain regular activity, interaction and stimulation to encourage prolonged mental dexterity and ensure their medication and treatment are maintained.
“Specialist care providers are usually only employed after someone has been properly diagnosed with dementia, which tragically means that many people are going undetected and are at risk because they don't receive adequate help. These new initiatives will hopefully identify many more sufferers who can then begin to receive the right care and support which can make sure they are treated properly and can then begin to enjoy an improved quality of life once again.”
For more information about Live in Care visit http://www.liveincareuk.net/