Dementia is a terrible condition which causes all kinds of upset, distress and difficulties for families when a loved one is diagnosed and as the condition unfolds.
It’s an issue which the Government is committed to tackle, with the Challenge on Dementia 2020 setting out the vision for dementia care, support, awareness, and research to be transformed in the next two years.
With more people receiving a diagnosis of dementia than ever before it is important more of us become aware of how it affects day to day lives. Progress is being made. Dementia training has now been given to over 660,000 NHS staff and 100,000 social care workers.
But not everyone is dementia-aware and life can be hard for those with the condition and their families and carers. This is why the Essex Dementia Action Alliance invited Essex MPs to meet them in the Houses of Parliament this week for a drop in session about what has been done, and what needs to be done to support our constituents.
We are fortunate to have pro-active support for people with all kinds of needs at the Brentwood Centre, and the Brentwood Leisure Trust has backed dementia friendly singing and dancing groups. I’m going to be talking to the leisure centres in Brentwood and Ongar to see what services they offer or could offer to dementia sufferers.
It was excellent to hear that, down the way, Southend Airport has become the first dementia friendly airport in the country. A simple wristband for those with dementia and their carers allows staff to identify discreetly those needing additional help and patience, making air travel easier for families who have found their lives made smaller by the demands of dementia.
Having discussed what is going on in our individual constituencies, it is clear just small changes are needed to make big differences to families dealing with dementia. I look forward to helping those changes to be made.