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By Debbie le Quesne

MP helping to keep dementia ball in play

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Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke has been busy this week attempting to keep the national dementia issue in focus.

On Tuesday he tabled a debate in the Commons calling for the improvement of dementia care in the UK Hardly surprising, he praised David Cameron’s initiative to host the G8 summit on Dementia.

But Shelbrooke suggested that there is much to do before there is public confidence that everyone living with dementia will be able to live a fulfilled life.

It’s kind of stating the obvious, but I’m not complaining – any attempt to keep the dementia ‘ball’ in play can do no harm.

With an aging population it is estimated that by 2021, 1 million people will be living with dementia – up from 800,000 today.

Shelbrooke also called for the National Dementia Strategy to be updated, making the case for an increased research, programmes for earlier diagnoses and further investigation into the effectiveness of homocysteine testing.

He cited inspiring examples of good dementia care in his own constituency of Elmet & Rothwell, and said that care home approached to the problem had developed immensely but his overall message was one of continually moving the dementia care/research issue forward.

Shelbrooke’s Adjournment debate was never going to create screaming headlines but I applaud the ‘you in your small corner and me in mine’ approach.

As a friend of the Alzheimer’s Society, it’s hardly surprising that he drew a comment from Dr Alison Cook, Director of External Affairs, with the society.

Reported in the Care Industry News online magazine, she says: “It’s encouraging to see government recognising the need for a refreshed national dementia strategy for England.

“Dementia is a major health challenge costing the UK £23 billion per year and was rightly chosen as the focus of the G8 Summit. We’re really pleased that the government is signalling that they will develop a new strategy to build on the really positive work done so far for people with dementia. It’s vital that the government now takes the necessary steps to develop a new plan and ensure real change for people with dementia.”

A visit to most of my member’s care homes could find those with some kind of dementia. Caring for them is notoriously difficult and the progression of the disease takes a huge toll on their families.

The Alzheimer’s Society is dedicated to defeating this awful problem and it seems our coalition is too (but not at the expense of such projects like HS2 – a £50bn project that I fear is more to do with vanity than need).

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