Dementia is one of the main health issues we face today. Sadly, someone develops the condition every three minutes and increasingly people are facing the situation alone.
Back in 2013 the Alzheimer’s Society launched the Dementia Friends initiative to tackle the stigma of dementia which all too often results in people with dementia becoming socially isolated. As a result of this initiative there are now more than two million Dementia Friends transforming the way people act, think and talk about the condition, and last month I was pleased to hold my own Dementia Friends awareness training session in the constituency. The aim of the Alzheimer’s Society is to create more communities and businesses that are dementia friendly so that people affected by dementia feel understood and included.
The increasing need to raise awareness of conditions such as dementia comes at a time when the Government is also seeking to address the need for a more sustainable future for high quality social care.
By 2020 we will have one million more people over the age of 70 in Britain than in 2015. Indeed, here in Aldridge-Brownhills more than a fifth of our population are of retirement age. As a society we need to find a solution to enable all adults to live well into later life with sustainable public services that support them to do so. For too long successive Governments have kicked this can down the road. It’s time to address this.
The Prime Minister has spoken consistently about the need for a three pronged approach to dealing with this issue. In the short-term the Government have made extra funding available to local Councils through the introduction of the adult social care ‘precept’ and a £2 billion cash injection in this year’s budget. In the medium term we need to ensure that best practice is observed across all areas to ensure that we prevent delayed hospital discharges and prevent people from being in hospital unnecessarily. Whilst, in the longer term we need a more sustainable footing for our social care system which works for everyone.
It is this Government that is seeking to bring forward proposals for consultation, hoping to build consensus around a lasting solution, which at its heart will seek to support people, families and communities to prepare for their old age with certainty and dignity.
This weekend, across the country, we will stop and come together to remember all those brave men and women who served our country, to ensure our freedom today. I will be joining one of our local Acts of Remembrance honouring those from our community who served our country. A symbol of our respect, it is also our strength as a nation.
This was first published by the Walsall Advertiser and the Sutton Observer on 10 November 2017.