This week in the Assembly Lynne Neagle led a short debate on one of the major health challenges of our time. Living with Dementia is a reality for almost 44,000 people and their families across Wales. These numbers are set to rise by a third by 2021 and by as much as 44% in some rural areas.
Lynne stated that one in three people born in 2015 are likely to develop the disease, and therefore our NHS will need the right resources and plans to cope, and society will need to make a massive cultural change to become what Lynne called 'dementia-friendly'.
Given the size of the problem, it is absolutely everybody's problem.
I recently visited the day centre at Oldwell Court run by the Alzheimer's Society in Penylan, which is threatened with closure, sadly, because the council is possibly proposing to withdraw the £160, 000 funding. I am particularly concerned that any service will be relocated to the other side of Cardiff, which means that the respite service that it provides for the families of people with dementia is completely undermined. In addition, the disruption with moving and the level of change can have a real affect on those suffering with dementia.
I am hoping that the Welsh Government Review will give us the opportunity to discuss the Living with Dementia problem further. If we can get people talking about dementia in a positive way, hopefully the above statistics can be lowered.
Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services, has stated that there are new and emerging forms of treatment that might make revolutionary differences to the way in which this disease has an impact on our society in the future. It is important that we all remain hopeful that the future can be different to the present.
I am currently in discussions with the Council regarding the services and Oldwell Court, and will continue to campaign against its closure.