Would it be ok to get frustrated at someone in a wheelchair if they couldn’t keep up? or with a blind person for not seeing what you are pointing at?
Over 840 000 people are living with dementia, affecting over 22 million people in the UK, either as a family member, neighbour or friend. One in three people over 65 will die with dementia and the average age of a patient in an acute hospital is 75.
The #DementiaDO campaign is about involving the whole community in making life better for people with dementia. That’s NHS staff, social care workers, ordinary members of the public especially if they’re not yet directly involved with someone affected by dementia.
Dementia isn’t just an issue for hospitals, health or social care – it affects us all, whatever we do – as we all intend to grow old, we all have older people in our families and we all live in communities too. Also, when someone is given a diagnosis of dementia, someone else is given a diagnosis of ‘carer’. Who prepares that person for the journey ahead?
Who tells the daughter what to say when her 90yr old mother asks for her mother, or the wife of the husband who wakes up suddenly at 2 in the morning, asking to go home, when he’s in his own bed, in his own bedroom, in his own house? Who tells these people what’s the best thing to say? But the expectation is there, isn’t it? That the carer should know all this and cope.
Over the years, many guidelines, strategies, campaigns and visions have been produced highlighting what we should do and how to provide care and support for people with dementia and their carers, treating them with dignity, respect and compassion. But people still regularly come up against a healthcare system that seems to come up against them. Every day our health service shows great care, compassion and support but too often are there media reports of neglect.
There are also more subtle forms of discrimination that lets us all down – shouting across at someone with dementia to ‘sit down’ instead of going over and finding out why they just tried to stand up. Or getting frustrated because someone with dementia can’t keep up with the constant rush, rush, rush of a hospital ward.
Would it be ok to get frustrated at someone in a wheelchair if they couldn’t keep up? Or with a blind person for not seeing what you are pointing at?
We offer free dementia sessions to organisations and public sector institutions – and we invite members of the public and carers to come along too.
We want to see the same rights and consideration for people with cognitive or thinking disabilities as there are for those physical disabilities. Why not ‘cognitive’ ramps alongside physical ones so that people with dementia can have equal access to services and buildings too?
After all, isn’t that what the 2010 Equality Act is all about?
Andy Tysoe, Dementia Nurse Specialist
Share your stories
Share your stories and innovations with everyone Twitter, using the #DementiaDo hashtag, so people learn from what you have done.
Follow our social media dementia heroes out there campaigning for a better life for people affected by dementia! Let’s work collectively to push down the walls around dementia and really have a dementia friendly NHS because if we get it right for people with dementia, we get it right for everyone. It’s not a choice anymore. Join our #DementiaDo groundswell for Fab Change day. Thank you and let’s do this – lets #DementiaDo this!