Widow calls for families to have greater dementia help

Barbara Dow. Picture by Jane Coltman
Barbara Dow. Picture by Jane Coltman

An Amble woman whose late husband had dementia is demanding more support for carers who ‘feel they’re carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders because of the frightening condition’.

Barbara Dow spoke out as the Alzheimer’s Society released the results of a poll which showed three quarters of GPs think patients with dementia rely on family as they don’t get enough help from health and social-care services.

Barbara believes that families who are affected by dementia need help to enable them to deal with a progressive brain disease as it worsens.

She said: “There is no doubt that it can be a terrifying disease, especially when dementia is initially diagnosed, which is why families need expert help.

“They need to be guided along the way right from the word go when a consultant diagnoses dementia by people who are experts in dementia so they can be with you every step of the way as no one should be left to their own devices.”

In its fourth annual report on quality of life for people who have dementia, Alzheimer’s Society warns that too many people with the disease are being let down by a system which fails to meet their needs.

Barbara, whose husband Al died in 2005, added: “From my experience, proper, appropriate and professional support is truly invaluable.

“Friends and family will do what they can but you need trained professionals who know and understand the illness.”

The survey found that half of the GPs asked think the NHS is doing too little to care for people with the condition, while 23 per cent of GPs said they haven’t had sufficient training in dementia to give them a good understanding of how to manage a person with the condition.

The Society is pressing for a national action plan to combat dementia over the next five years, It is urging the Government and agencies to aim higher to help dementia suffers.