Dementia is currently high on both the political and the news agendas, with an estimated 800,000 people in the UK thought to have the condition. The Prime Minister launched his ‘Dementia Challenge’ back in March and popular figures such as Arlene Philips, Carey Mulligan, Fiona Philips and Coleen Nolan have all talked about their experience of dementia in their families.
Greater attention is a positive step forward to generating understanding and improving services, but there has been little focus on the specific needs of people whose dementia presents during their working lives.
Younger people are very likely to be still working and their diagnosis brings concerns about how the mortgage is going to be paid. They might still have children at home or parents to care for, and being in the ‘sandwich generation’ it’s likely they’ll have both. Still physically fit but with the stigma of a life-limiting, terminal condition their social circle can shrink or disappear altogether as friends and family don’t know how to respond.
Support such as we provide at YoungDementia UK can help to maintain those social networks. Enabling people to continue to take part in the activities they enjoy gives them confidence and helps to maintain their skills. The key thing is to respond to the person rather than the condition.
Luckily, the importance of understanding people as individuals is being increasingly recognised by support providers and care services. But the specific support younger people need should be more widespread, particularly when it comes to residential care. Life needn’t stop with a diagnosis of dementia but the right support is crucial, both for the person themselves and their family as they adapt to the changes in life.
More information about Young Dementia UK:
Tel: 01993 776295