Dementia Friends Update
More than 15,000 individuals have registered their interest in the new Dementia Friends initiative launched by the Government at the end of last year. The Scheme, intended to raise awareness of dementia and provide help to sufferers within the community, has an ambitious target of enrolling more than 1 million people by 2015. The organisers, The Alzheimer’s Society, are now moving to roll out the training sessions that they have been trialing around the country to the wider community. They have also announced a new website, www.dementiafriends.or.uk that will be available soon.
The need for improved recognition and help for those who suffer from dementia was, perhaps, highlighted by the death of an 81-year-old pensioner who was left alone for days after the private Nursing and Care Organisation that had been visiting her 4 times a day was closed down following raids by the UK Order Agency investigating the Company’s use of illegal immigrant workers. The Agency confirmed that it had notified .Surrey County Council of its intentions prior to the raid with a view to enabling the Council to arrange alternative care for the Company’s clients. The initial response from the Council suggested that this particular lady had “fallen through the net” because she was privately funded and not known to the Council’s Social Services Department. This response appears to suggest that an extremely vulnerable person was paying a commercial organisation for care, the quality of which had never been checked, nor had any inquiry been made as to the adequacy or appropriateness of the arrangement. As it would seem that the pensioner was unable to manage her own affairs one can only assume that some arrangement for the payment of the Company continued to operate even though the lady lacked capacity to authorise payments. Whether the advent of Dementia Friends will help in such difficult circumstances, particularly where the line between concern and interference is a very thin one, remains to be seen.