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Every day is dementia day

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Topics: 
approaches to dementia care, care services and care homes

Dementia Day-to-Day or Dementia Day, today! Well, if you are caring for someone with dementia, every day is Dementia Day. Even when my mother eventually went into a nursing home, my father visited her every day, and even though she could no longer speak and didn’t know exactly who he was, she knew that she knew him and he was important to her.

Several years later, I am working in Public Health at Nottinghamshire County Council and over the last few weeks my colleague Penny and I have met with about 100 carers and people with dementia from different groups around Nottinghamshire. We asked them to tell us what services work well for them and what don’t.

Many people do feel that they are somehow falling through gaps in the system. Services seem inaccessible because sometimes seemingly unnecessary barriers are put in their way. The GP practice asks to see a power of attorney to prove I’m a carer; the continence service says my husband isn’t incontinent enough, the housing office says I can no longer just swap my first floor flat for a ground floor flat. Also why don’t health and social care seem to talk to each other? And why do I have to be so persistent to get anything?

Of course many people also appreciate the help that they have had in finding their way around the system and have had some very positive things to say about individual services, such as: my GP or social worker have been very supportive, the care home or day care is very good. There’s also more information available now than there used to be, especially through memory clinics and the internet, for example http://www.dementiacarer.net/ which some local commissioners also subscribe to.

And last but not least, people value individual self-help groups and the friendships they have made there. Contact details for individual carers’ groups such as Carers in Hucknall, Newark Dementia Carers Group, Bassetlaw Dementia carers and others can be found on the website above

So, whilst we do have some good services in Nottinghamshire, there are clearly gaps and not always enough capacity to meet everyone’s needs.  We in Nottinghamshire need to do more to improve dementia day to day.

Gill Oliver & Penny Spice (Nottingham County Council) 

 

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