Update: 6th September 2023
Sir Robert Buckland MP attended Alzheimer's Research UK's event in Parliament on the #FutureOfDementia.
With over half of us knowing someone affected by dementia, there must be a greater focus on putting a stop to the heartbreak this condition causes.
Update: 19th July 2023
As part of his ongoing campaign to raise awareness of dementia, South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland recently wrote to Sue Harriman, Chief Executive of Bath and North-East Somerset, Swindon, and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (BSW ICB).
Sir Robert informed the local ICB about his ongoing work around dementia with Alzheimer’s Society and called for them to join him in his commitment to increasing the dementia diagnosis rate locally.
The estimated dementia diagnosis rate in Swindon was 49.4% in 2022, compared to the England average of 62.0% and a national target of 66.6%.
Increasing the dementia diagnosis rate locally will mean that more people here in Swindon will receive access to vital care and support.
Following the letter to the Chief Executive of BSW ICB, Sue Harriman Sir Robert and Alzheimer’s Society are pleased to announce that the Integrated Care Board has committed to increasing the dementia rate with a series of planned interventions. This builds upon work that BSW ICB has already started through their Dementia Diagnosis Rate action plan.
Key commitments include:
- Developing a specialist Older People’s Mental Health resource to work in primary care to support improving the diagnosis of dementia and associated recording.
- Optimising capacity in memory assessment services. Changes to the clinical model are underway. This includes shared care prescribing to refocus Memory Assessment capacity on front-end assessments and building ‘Rapid Assessment Diagnosis’ clinics into the Swindon Model.
- A series of activities to increase awareness and encourage earlier identification and diagnosis to support timely and targeted treatment.
Sir Robert Buckland MP said
“As part of my ongoing campaign to raise awareness of dementia here in Swindon, I have joined forces with Alzheimer’s Society to work to increase the dementia diagnosis rate locally.
“There are estimated to be 2,700 people living with dementia in Swindon, yet too many are facing it alone, so it is important that we help more people access the vital and support that they need.
“I am delighted that BSW Integrated Care Board have committed to a series of planned interventions to increase the dementia diagnosis rate, and I look forward to working with them closely in the future along with Alzheimer’s Society.
Tim Baverstock, Head of Local Systems Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society said:
“A timely, accurate and high-quality diagnosis for people living with dementia is crucial in helping them to understand, manage and live well with their condition, and in unlocking the support that follows.
“Unfortunately, too often access to a dementia diagnosis is a postcode lottery. Regional variation in diagnosis rates across the country is significant. When you consider this alongside the profound impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on diagnosis rates, the urgency of addressing these disparities should be clear.
“Too many people living with dementia are now living without the clarity and support that a diagnosis brings and instead are left to cope alone.
“It’s encouraging to see that BSW Integrated Care Board are committed to taking the necessary steps to increase diagnosis rates within Swindon and we urge all Integrated Care Systems to follow suit.”
Update: 15th June 2023
I met Nyree and Susan from the Public Health Team at Swindon Borough Council to discuss their work around dementia.
I was very pleased to hear that the eight Memory Cafes we have here in Swindon are immensely popular with many residents attending.
There are lots of activities on offer to local residents with dementia from singing and dancing through to chair based exercises and even a memory cinema.
The team are keen to engage and reach out to any local resident with a dementia diagnosis, particularly those who may be suffering with loneliness and isolation, and the message is very loud and clear - You are not alone.
I was pleased to hear that here in South Swindon, we are leading the way, with the very first Memory Café opening at Prospect Hospice in Wroughton. Other Hospices across England are now looking at opening Memory Cafes, after being inspired by the brilliant work taking place here in the town.
The Public Health team are also working with care homes across the town and currently we have nine care homes in Swindon who are signed up for a specialist 12-week programme, which is run by the team. This programme includes chair-based exercise and competitive games for care home residents. The programme provides ideas and tools to care homes, so that these activities can continue for residents following the programme.
The team at Swindon Borough Council are also keen to work with all minority groups and faith leaders, and recently hosted a programme at Immanuel Church for residents of all faiths.
The Swindon Dementia Action Alliance is also working very well in the town, with many local groups and businesses signed up and raising awareness. If you would like to sign up or find out more, please visit https://www.dementiaaction.org.uk/local_alliances/10211_swindon_dementia_action_alliance
If you are a local resident who has been diagnosed with dementia, or you have a family member or friend with dementia who may benefit from these fantastic local services, please get in touch with me and I can pass your details on to the team.
If you are part of a local group or community organisation and you would like to request a Dementia Awareness talk for your members, please also get in touch with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or ringing 01793 533393
Update: 12th May 2023
As part of his ongoing campaign to raise awareness of Dementia in Swindon, Sir Robert Buckland MP is inviting local residents affected by Dementia, their carers, family, and friends, to a Dementia Action Week Expo Event hosted by the Swindon Dementia Action Alliance.
Full Story: https://www.robertbuckland.co.uk/news/sir-robert-buckland-mp-invites-swindon-residents-dementia-action-week-awareness-event
Update 10th May 2023
I had another productive meeting with Alzheimer's Society today, talking about the work they are doing in Swindon and how I can support that work. The team are working hard to support people with dementia, improve the diagnosis rate, and reach underserved communities. If you need support in Swindon, you can call Alzheimer's Society on 01793 485404
Update 14th April 2023
My charity of the week is Alzheimer’s Society, who I am working closely with here in South Swindon, as part of my ongoing campaign to raise awareness of dementia. It is important that we work to boost diagnosis rates locally so that we can help more people to access vital care and support.
The word 'dementia' describes a set of symptoms that over time can affect memory, problem-solving, language, and behaviour. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society is made up of people with dementia, carers, trusted experts, campaigners, researchers, and clinicians. They are the UK’s largest collective force of people with unparalleled knowledge and over 40 years of experience addressing the biggest challenges facing people living with dementia.
Dementia is the biggest health and social challenge of our time. There are currently estimated to be 900,000 people in the UK with dementia. Many are undiagnosed and facing the realities of their condition alone. Alzheimer’s Society are working hard to change this.
Sadly, many people affected by Dementia feel that society fails to understand the condition they live with. By becoming a Dementia Friend, which is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, you can help by raising awareness and understanding, so that people living with dementia can continue to live in the way they want. I became a Dementia Friend a few years back now, and I would encourage anyone who wants to help people living with dementia in their local community to do the same. It is a simple process, which is available to everyone. You can find out more here: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/WEBArticle?page=become-dementia-friend
Julie Osborne, Alzheimer’s Society Local Services Manager, said:
“We’re grateful to Swindon South MP Sir Robert Buckland for making Alzheimer’s Society his charity of the week. We estimate there are 2,700 people living with dementia in Swindon, yet too many are facing it alone.
“We encourage people across Swindon to join Sir Robert in supporting Alzheimer’s Society. One way to do this, is by getting involved in our charity appeal and wearing a Forget Me Not badge throughout May, sending a message to everyone affected by dementia that they have not been forgotten.
“Alzheimer’s Society’s services are a lifeline. Help us to be there for more people; visit alzheimers.org.uk/forgetmenot for more information or to buy a badge.”
If you or someone close to you is affected by dementia, call Alzheimer’s Society in Wiltshire on 01793 485404 or email email@example.com
Update; April 4th 2023
As part of my ongoing campaign to raise awareness of Dementia here in South Swindon, I had a great conversation with Alzheimer's Society this afternoon, and I look forward to working with them further, to help increase the dementia diagnosis rate here in Swindon to help more people access vital care and support.
Update: 3 November 2022
As part of my ongoing work to raise awareness about Dementia here in South Swindon, I have been calling on local residents, local businesses, charities, schools, colleges, and all local community groups to take part in “Elf Day” https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/elf-day
I am delighted that Health and Social Care Students at New College Swindon will now be holding an “ELF and Social Care Day” to raise money and awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease on 1st December 2022.
Level one and Level two learners at New College will also be undertaking Dementia Friends Training. They will be supported to access this training in class, and resources from Dementia UK will enhance and progress this. A Dementia Friends ambassador will also visit the college to deliver in-person awareness and training. I am pleased to have also received an invitation to visit the college again, as part of this Dementia Awareness Initiative, to speak to students about why I became a Dementia Friend and why this is important to me.
As part of his ongoing work to raise awareness about Dementia here in South Swindon, Sir Robert Buckland MP is calling on local residents, local businesses, charities, schools, colleges, and all local community groups to take part in “Elf Day” https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/elf-day
Each year, Elf Day raises money and awareness for the Alzheimer's Society, a national care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers.
More than half of the UK public knows someone who has been diagnosed with dementia, and here in Swindon, there are estimated to be over 2,200 people with the condition.
Alzheimer’s Society makes it easy to teach and learn about Dementia by providing resources on their website here: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/.../dementia-teaching...
Sir Robert would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to join him and become a Dementia Friend.
Too many people affected by dementia feel that society fails to understand the condition they live with. Dementia Friends helps by raising awareness and understanding so that people living with dementia can continue to live in the way they want.
You can find out more about becoming a Dementia Friend here: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk
If you decided to host an Elf Day event, or you decide to sign up to become a Dementia Friend, please do let Sir Robert know!