[imageframe lightbox=”no” style=”bottomshadow” bordercolor=”#ffffff” bordersize=”4px” stylecolor=”” align=”left” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″][/imageframe]800,000 people in the UK are living with dementia today. This is the stark fact presented by David Cameron this week in seeking to raise the profile, discussion, and debate to find a cure for this disease which destroys so many lives of people diagnosed with dementia and their family networks.
Watching first-hand the impact of dementia is akin as one leading professor in dementia once said to me, ‘is symbolised by a wonderful novel representing an individual’s life story and watching pages from different chapters of the book blow away.’ In other words how dementia attacks the brain is random in removing memories and recognition in a person’s life. Many of you will have seen the Iris Murdoch film which is an excellent representation of a leading academic and brilliant writer impacted by this disease.
As a provider of care services to people within their homes and in registered care the transformation of services delivered over the past 10 years has been dramatic. In this time we have moved from a minority of people receiving care having a diagnosis of dementia to virtually all people we see now having a dementia. This trend and demand on services will continue as we all grow older and live longer.
The challenge for any care provider in the coming decades will be about the design of care homes to meet the needs of complex behaviours, the philosophy of care and training to meet the individual health and social care needs in an enabling fashion, and of course the level of adequate funding to provide more and more specialist care.
As a colleague has said to me ‘we have allowed the disease to take centre stage and lost sight of the individual person, this is the ultimate challenge for any care provider in responding and seeking to understand the individual receiving our services.’