Steve Speaks out on Dementia(September 20, 2013)
Liverpool Walton MP, Steve Rotheram has continued his campaign to raise awareness of dementia in parliament and reaffirmed his pledge to take action to support the 800,000 people living with dementia across the UK.
Steve led a delegation of over 200 other MPs and representatives from Alzheimer’s Society in Portcullis House, Westminster to provide a handwritten statement of the action they will take to support people with dementia and their carers. Steve pledged to help make Liverpool dementia friendly so people with dementia can play a full role in their community, campaign for better dementia care in Walton, work with Alzheimer’s Society to improve support for people with dementia, support Dementia Friends across the whole of Merseyside and support plans to increase dementia diagnosis rates in Liverpool.
During his address, Steve explained, “Liverpool’s ability to make a difference for dementia patients would not be possible were it not for the excellent work of the Alzheimer’s Society. When I was the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, I chose the Alzheimer’s Society as one of my five sponsored charities and was extremely proud to award it with its largest ever cheque at the time of £115,000 in recognition of the vital work that it does in my city.
“My campaigning on this issue in parliament is for deeply personal reasons. My mum suffered with dementia in her final years. I used to beat myself up for not recognising the signs earlier and foolishly thinking that her forgetfulness was just a part and parcel of old age. I questioned why there was not better advice, different treatments and why it was that this crippling disease was never really spoken about.
“In Liverpool, it is estimated that by 2021, over 5,000 people will suffer from dementia and what is most concerning is that of the existing sufferers in Liverpool, over 51% of have never actually received a diagnosis and so there is an absence of treatment and support in their illness.
“Liverpool is leading the way with non-pharmaceutical approaches to dementia treatment with projects such as the House of Memories and I want other towns and cities to follow our innovative approach so that we can give all dementia sufferers, the care that they deserve.”
During the afternoon, 30 MPs from across England took part in a Dementia Friends session. Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:
‘Most people don’t know enough about dementia. Dementia Friends is the perfect opportunity to be able to invite everyone to improve their knowledge. We are pleased to have been able to engage over 130 MPs in one day. They have a huge influence in their local communities and we hope they will use this opportunity to take action and improve lives‘.
If you are interested in becoming a Dementia Friend or helping create more communities that are dementia friendly, go to dementiafriends.org.uk to find your nearest information session or to volunteer as a Dementia Friends Champion.