Dementia: More than just Memory Loss
This report looks at how services across Wales need to improve to ensure that people living with dementia and those who care for them can access the services, support, information and advice that they need. It draws on research carried out by Age Cymru with people living with dementia and their carers, who took part in individual interviews and focus group sessions to share the experiences of their day-to-day lives. Key themes discussed cover: impact on independence; meaningful activity; impact on carers; awareness within society; diagnosis; relationships with professionals; and health and social services, including post-diagnosis support. The research found a lack of knowledge and understanding of dementia, both amongst professionals and wider society; a lack of flexibility in dementia services; a lack of co-operation between services, which often created barriers for people living with dementia and their carers. Significant variations in the quality of services available across Wales were also identified. The report then identifies what would make a difference to the experiences of living with dementia in Wales and sets out a number of actions. These including work to ensure that primary care services are more dementia supportive; training for staff on working with people with dementia; and greater post-diagnosis support, including a single point of contact to provide information and advice on the services and support available that can be accessed whenever required.
‘This report gives a voice to people living with dementia and those that care for and care about them. It provides an opportunity to reflect on where we are now in Wales. It has messages for the whole of society and should be used as a challenge to not only build upon what we have already done, but also to build upon this in a way that delivers a better quality of life for people living with dementia. For too many people living with dementia, the consequences of this disease lead to a withdrawal from wider society and the things, often the smallest of things, that give them pleasure and bring value, meaning and purpose to their lives. But it is important that as a society we support people with dementia to be included for as long as possible, that we focus on the skills that they still have or can still learn and that through our actions we ensure that they have the best quality of life for as long as possible.’
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