This guest blog was contributed by William Kloverod Griffiths, Policy and Projects Officer, at the think tank ResPublica.
The Prime Minister wants the UK to be ‘the best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.’ The UK has indeed taken a leading role in initiatives among the G7 countries and the World Health Organisation, and the amount of money going into dementia research in the UK has recently doubled.
However, the total figure is still low when compared to funding for other conditions (such as cancer). There has also been a considerable focus on funding biomedical research ahead of research on how to best care for people with dementia. To be truly ‘best in the world’ we must see dementia not only through a biomedical lens but as a much wider issue which draws in all sections of society. Continue reading “Guest blog: Becoming ‘the best place in the world’ for dementia treatment”
“I am doing something worthwhile. I am earning my bread again”. This is what Brian, who has dementia, said about how his life has changed for the better as a result of directly shaping the care that he and others receive. He is not alone in benefiting from being involved in decisions about care.
In England, it is estimated that around 676,000 people have dementia. This number is expected to grow over the coming years. And this comes at a time when there are severe cuts in budgets, particularly in social care. So what can public services do when more traditional solutions – such as recruiting more staff or expanding services – are not open to them? Whilst at the same time we know that people with dementia – and their carers – need person-centred holistic care and support, including high quality social care. Continue reading “Guest blog: Time is now for people powered dementia care”
This week we have a guest blog from Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of theFawcett Society, on women and dementia.
Dementia is one of those illnesses that we don’t really like to talk about do we? It’s associated with ageing and while we know that we have an ageing society all the images around us are rather in denial preferring to promote youthful beauty. But it’s also a gender issue because women are more likely than men to be affected.
Our first blog of the week looks at how music can be used as a way to help care for and support people living with dementia. It was contributed by Doctor Victoria Williamson, Director of Music and Wellbeing, at the University of Sheffield.
Music is powerful, multi-functional, ageless and universal: one of the greatest human inventions.
You will, no doubt, know music that instantly transports you back in time to a treasured memory. Lyrics pop automatically to your mind. You remember music from decades ago but struggle with the names of people you met just days before.
Psychological studies support these anecdotal accounts of the power of music in long-term memory. Individuals who face extreme challenges to their memory, such as amnesia or dementia, rarely lose these musical connections.
Over 800,000 people in Britain live with dementia. This is expected to increase to 2 million by 2050. For the growing number of people living with dementia, their carers and families, music therapy can play an important role in supporting their wellbeing and quality of life.
Oliver Sachs, the well-known neurologist, in his book ‘Musicophilia’, describes music therapy as seeking to ‘address the emotions, cognitive powers, thoughts and memories, the surviving “self” of the patient… to enrich and enlarge existence, to give freedom, stability, organisation and focus.’