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Dementia is not just a “social” condition

Welcoming this morning’s announcement that dementia funding is to be more than doubled by 2015, Ruth Cartwright, BASW England manager, said:

“When the previous government launched its Dementia Strategy, the funding element was missing. We need to know more about the causes and background to the disease, about ways of treating it and about how people with these conditions and their carers should be supported.

“It is clear that the dementia rates will increase as we are all living longer. This will place additional strain on an already hugely over stretched social care system. BASW calls upon the NHS to play its part in this; for too long a diagnosis of dementia has meant minimal involvement of health professionals, and the person being passed over to the social care sector for care and support.

“At the launch of the original strategy, I commented that dementia was a unique illness, as it was rarely treated as an illness at all, but was instead labelled as a “social” condition. People with dementia and their carers deserve the best possible care, and the social care system is not at the moment in a position to offer this.

“The current high eligibility criteria meaning people do not receive any support until their situation is truly desperate, and their carers are exhausted. A diagnosis of dementia is not the end of the world, and a good quality of life can be maintained if our Government and our society are willing to invest the necessary resources”.