From hospitals to housing associations: funding support for dementia services is crucial

As it’s coming up to my two year anniversary of working alongside the Empowered Conversations team, I thought I’d take some time to explore the most interesting and surprising things I have discovered whilst learning more about dementia….

However geeky it might sound, my involvement with Empowered Conversations – and delivering workshops to hospitals and housing associations – has caused me to often ponder the relationship between the need for essential goods and services for vulnerable individuals and the awful amount of pressure that organisations and the government in general find themselves under when it comes to managing such services effectively despite budget cuts.

I appreciate that, yes dementia and its effects are becoming a more commonplace issue, but there are also many other uncomfortable, challenging topics the government needs to cater it’s budget to, from an overworked NHS to child poverty to the obesity crisis to mental health provision. It seems impossible to know how one could support each initiative with equal momentum and passionate activism. Is it even possible? And what impact will the looming prospect of Brexit have on these topics at a national and global level? (Trust me, I don’t envy May or Corbyn one bit!). It broke my heart to learn at a recent group meeting that too many individuals with dementia had to spend last Christmas in hospitals, as social services were unable to find appropriate care. How devastatingly lonely that must’ve been.

We also need to constantly address the questions of how appropriate and effective care can be given to such vulnerable individuals and their carers in this time of national and global economic uncertainty, and in my view it must also be continually emphasised that people with dementia should be loved unconditionally, are intelligent and a great value to society.

On a more positive note, we thankfully have the backing of former MP for Salford Hazel Blears, who chairs steering group meetings, has had personal familial experiences of dementia, and shares our determination to ensure the Empowered Conversations approach is adopted by health and social care services.