A report has recently been published about Dementia services in Barking and Dagenham by Healthwatch, an organisation which acts as the champions of consumers for local people in relation to health and social services. The report publishes new statistics on dementia and lists the many different services available to those who need them.
Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham has supported many dementia awareness campaigns over the years and is committed to improving the lives of those who suffer from dementia and their families.
Dementia is an umbrella term for several conditions affecting memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. There around 676,000 people with Dementia in England and around 540,000 carers of people living with dementia. It is estimated that 66,000 people have already cut their working hours to care for a family member, adding to the considerable economic cost associated, at about £23 billion a year. This cost is predicted to triple by the year 2040.
However in 2017, Barking and Dagenham estimated that there were 1,540 people living with dementia but that this is expected to either remain the same or decrease over the next 3 years. Thankfully there is no predicted rise in those suffering from dementia, making it one of 9 London boroughs with no change or decreasing dementia care needs.
There are several services available for dementia sufferers such as the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) which offers specialist clinicians and therapeutic support, as well as The Broad Street Clinic which runs a Memory Cafe service, offering advice and opportunity for social activities for those with dementia and their carers.
Jon Cruddas MP commented: "we have an ageing population so it is vitally important that we get it right when it comes to care in later life. Whilst it is positive that Barking and Dagenham is one of 9 London boroughs where the need for dementia care is either staying the same or decreasing, we cannot assume that this will always be the case."
Healthwatch engaged with 41 people, who either suffered from dementia or were the family or carer of someone who did and asked questions in relation to ease of accessing information, quality of information provided by GP's and amount of support available.
Healthwatch recommends that:
1- The borough should refresh their dementia strategy and run campaigns to raise awareness about it.
2- The borough should take the findings of the Race Equality Foundation into consideration from the ‘Where Are We Now?' document focusing on dementia on ethnic minority communities.
3- Information about local dementia services needs to be clearer for already diagnosed patients and those awaiting diagnosis.
4- General practises in the borough must do more to ensure doctors increase their knowledge and awareness to recognise the early stages of dementia.
5- Drivers for transport services would benefit from training in how to deal with challenging behaviour sometimes presented by those with dementia.