One in three people over the age of 65 will die with some form of dementia (Alzheimer Research UK).
Given the latest statistics suggest that there are over 10 million currently over that age in the UK we are looking at around 3 million people having dementia, as the population grows and ages this means dementia will impact on even more people in the future.
Big numbers generally make our minds switch of, the bystander effect kicks in and we just assume it is someone else’s problem, not our responsibility and best left to ‘professionals’ to deal with. Yet we need to put the issue into perspective.
But if you stop and break it down a bit can we afford to be bystanders?
How many brothers or sisters do you have? I have three, so the chances are that between the four of us at least one will develop dementia. A daunting thought and enough to make me think that action needs to be taken now so if I, or anyone else in my family, develops dementia the best possible care and support is available. Although many would like to deny it we all age and as we age we creep closer to being the one in three who will develop dementia and if we do not have the infrastructure in place what sort of care and support we will receive.
Think about your future as you age. You may develop dementia or you may find someone you love develops it and you have to be their primary carer. The issue may not even be dementia, other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or long term heart conditions etc. Imagine being in a situation where you are unable to fully engage with your family or friends because you are physically unable to make even a simple cup of tea or having issues with continence that leaves feeling embarrassed or ashamed.
Stop, and start to ask yourself how well prepared in the country to provide YOU with the support and care you need later in your life.
As you think about your future also think about those who are in that situation now. There are millions caring for someone they love but without real support from society because they ‘fail’ to meet the eligibility criteria set by bureaucrats. Local authorities, who supply most social care funding are facing ever tightening budgets and services are declining because of this. Take time to think about the pressures on elderly people in the current economic climate where the costs of heating and food are climbing but help from the state is declining.
You are getting older, and as you get older there is an increasing likelihood that you will need social care support either for yourself or for someone you love. We are an ageing population and it is important for us to act now to secure our future and also those who need support services today.
We cannot be bystanders in the ageing process and the need to ensure society provides its best for those who need our help.