Approximately 86,000 people are estimated to be living with dementia in Scotland. Around 3,200 of these people are under the age of 65. The numbers of people with dementia in Scotland are expected to rise to 164,000 by 2036.
Dementia is a national priority for the Scottish Government. Those caring for people with dementia are at risk of experiencing mental health problems themselves, so the rising levels of dementia will have a double impact.
In June 2013, the Scottish Government published Scotland's second National Dementia Strategy which builds upon the progress to date of the first dementia strategy published in 2010 and highlights continuing challenges. It sets out its commitment to delivering world-class dementia services in Scotland in a series of 17 commitments in order to address 3 main challenges:
Offering care and support to people with dementia and their families in a way that promotes wellbeing and quality of life, protects their right and respects their humanity.
Continuing to improve services and support from when someone presents for diagnosis, and throughout the course of the illness, including the support needs of carers. This support should be truly person centered, and should understand care and support from their perspective, not the perspective of service managers or clinicians.
Recognising that with increased life expectancy, the challenge of providing high quality care and support to people with dementia and their carers will increase over time and embracing the process of redesign and transformation of services to ensure that services are delivered effectively and efficiently.
Within the 17 commitments lies a new national target for dementia:
'To deliver expected rates of dementia diagnosis and by 2015/16, all people newly diagnosed with dementia will have a minimum of a year's worth of post diagnostic support coordinated by a Link Worker, including the building of a person-centered support plan'
The World Health Organisation recently published a document in conjunction with Alzheimer's Disease International calling dementia a public health priority (external website). It calls for dementia to be a national and international priority and for a public health approach towards the illness
The Standards of Care for Dementia in Scotland (external website) were published by the Scottish Government in June 2011 and they set out Scotland's National Dementia Strategy.
Key to the support of people with dementia is the availability of high quality information. NICE guidelines recommend that information is tailored to the needs of the individual, culturally appropriate and accessible. The national dementia strategy also highlights the importance of information in improving understanding of the benefits of early diagnosis.
In addition to work to improve treatment services for older people experiencing dementia, there is a need to increase awareness raising and education among professionals and the general public, alongside preventative efforts, building on the evidence of risk reduction (external website) related to healthy eating, physical and cognitive activity. Mental health improvement has a contribution to make to this work, by improving the awareness and education of health and social care staff and the general public.
The following dementia resources have been published by NHS Health Scotland (external website):
The worried about your memory booklet (external website) is aimed at helping people concerned about their memory, to decide whether they should see a doctor.
The handbook for carers (external website) gives advice on how to provide the best possible care for someone in the middle to late stages of dementia, and offers practical suggestions. It aims to help carers to feel less alone, give advice on coping and help to make caring more rewarding and less stressful.
For those who are either worried about dementia or who have been diagnosed with it, the facing dementia booklet (external website) provides reassurance and practical steps to improve or maintain dignity and quality of life.
This popular booklet helps young people to understand what dementia is (external website), how to cope with the effects of a person's illness and, if necessary, where to find help.
Working in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland (external website) and the Scottish Dementia Working Group (external website), NHS Health Scotland produced the 'Coping with dementia' and 'Facing dementia' booklets in DVD format:
The Coping with Dementia (external website) DVD helps carers to understand dementia and provides practical suggestions about caring for someone in the middle to late stages of dementia. Coping with dementia is also available in British Sign Language (BSL) format (external website).
This living well with dementia DVD (external website) is aimed at people who have just received a diagnosis of dementia. It is based on the experiences of people with dementia and their carers, using their voices to share experience around how to 'live well' after diagnosis. It also offers practical advice on coping with its effects.
Copies of the resources have been given to NHS Health Boards, Alzheimer Scotland and other partners. Individual copies are available from NHS Health Scotland and the Alzheimer Scotland helpline (0808 808 3000).
Travelling with Dementia
This booklet provides helpful tips and strategies to help people with dementia travel safely and aims to raise awareness amongst transport operators and staff about dementia and how to support people travelling with dementia.
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