COLUMN: Exploring ways to care for Derbsyhire’s dementia sufferers

Karen Ritchie - Derbyshire Healthwatch
Karen Ritchie - Derbyshire Healthwatch

As the number of people living with dementia grows, the impact it has on those living with the progressive disorder and on their friends and family, has become an increasingly common talking point.

Furthermore how the health and social care system plans to deal with the effects of this rise, both in terms of cost and the support available for those affected, is beginning to come under closer scrutiny.

In simple terms, dementia affects how your brain works and, in particular, the ability to remember, think and reason. It is not a disease in itself – but a group of symptoms that may accompany a number of diseases that affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease.

It is not a consequence of growing old but the risk of having dementia increases with age and, with an ageing population, is something that will touch more and more people’s lives as time passes.

As part of our role to give local people a voice on health and social care issues, Healthwatch Derbyshire is planning a major piece of work around dementia.

We will be talking to people living with dementia as well as their family and carers about their experiences and views on the care and support that they receive.

This work will further explore comments received by Healthwatch Derbyshire and will enable us to have a greater understanding of what is working well and what could be improved both for people living with dementia and for their carers.

We will be arranging to visit various groups across the county to gather people’s experiences which gather into a report to be shared with the relevant service providers and commissioners.

This will include recommendations and the service providers would be asked to respond, to let us know how they intend to use this information to improve their services.

We are still in the planning stages of this engagement however, if you would like to get involved in this engagement and share your experiences or to be kept up to date with our planning, contact hannah@healthwatchderbyshire.co.uk, call 01773 880786 or text 07943505255.