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Dementia must be seen as an ‘inevitable part of growing old’

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Dementia must be seen as an ‘inevitable part of growing old’, the government's advisor on older people’s mental health has warned.

Professor Sube Banerjee told a conference on dementia and elderly care in London earlier this week that dementia needed to receive ‘top priority’.

He said that dementia services varied across England but that the dementia strategy, which has now been delayed since October, would make a difference.

‘The evidence has become firmer in the last five years – but the messages haven’t been understandable to people who are commissioning the services, or to the professionals,’ he said. ‘The current system allows anybody to make a diagnosis of dementia – so in fact nobody ends up doing it.’

Proposals in a draft version of the strategy, published last year, include appointing named dementia care advisors as a single point of contact for patients throughout diagnosis and treatment, and the establishment of more ‘memory clinics’ where patients can get information about their condition and learn techniques for improving their memory.

In addition, care homes and acute hospitals could be asked to identify a key staff member as responsible for handling dementia patients.

In a separate statement on the delay to the final version of the strategy, care services minister Phil Hope said: ‘I share the frustration with the delays in publishing the strategy. But we cannot afford to get this wrong.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Margery Mary Hawkins

    How inaccurate.
    I am 78 and my memory is better than it used to be.
    I was at my worst when I was near retirement from nursding, I was so discouraged and put down,

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