This Dementia Action Week we spoke to hundreds of politicians across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Last summer’s General Election showed that dementia care is one of the biggest political issues across the three nations. However, there is still much work to be done.
By meeting with political representatives throughout the week we want to ensure people affected by dementia are really listened to.
Action in Westminster
A big part of encouraging action on dementia involves making sure our politicians fully understand the issues facing people living with dementia today.
That’s why we held Dementia Friends Information Sessions across all levels of Government, from MPs to civil servants. We even delivered sessions to the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet in the same day!
During the week we also held a drop-in event in Westminster. Here, we spoke to 91 MPs about the problems with cost, quality and access to care that people with dementia experience.
Some MPs are already taking these learnings into their constituencies. For example, we supported Robert Courts MP to become a Dementia Friends Champion, so he can deliver sessions in his local constituency in Witney. This really highlights the importance MPs are beginning to give this issue, making a difference where possible.
Finally, we worked with Caroline Dinenage, the Minister for Care, to organise a range of activities across the week. As well as speaking at our Annual Conference and at a Dementia Friends session we held in parliament, she also visited our researchers at Southampton University to hear more about what they are doing to help all those affected by dementia.
Action in the Senedd
In Wales, we launched our campaign to make the National Assembly dementia friendly. We’re aiming to make sure all 60 Assembly Members become Dementia Friends so they increase their understanding of what it’s like to be affected by dementia.
During Dementia Action Week we held a drop-in event where AMs could come and find out how they can support their constituents. We had around 34 AMs come along, including the Cabinet Secretary for Health, the Minister for Social Care, four further government Ministers, Shadow Ministers, the Llywdd (presiding officer) and deputy presiding officer.
So far we have 32 AMs who have become a Dementia Friend, with 15 more pledging to become a Dementia Friend shortly, we’ll hold them to that! This is one step towards our aim, and with the backing from the Cabinet Secretary of Health Vaughan Gething AM, we’re well on our way to having all AMs in Wales becoming a Dementia Friend by November this year.
New Dementia Friends, Hefin David AM (left) and Vaughan Gething AM (right)
Action at Stormont
During Dementia Action Week we also held Dementia Friends sessions with MLAs in Northern Ireland, along with their constituency and policy personnel and many Assembly staff.
Politicians in Northern Ireland are now better equipped to support a family member, friend, neighbour or constituent to live well with dementia. The sessions will help them stay connected to their communities and to tackle social isolation.
Turning political representatives into Dementia Friends helps make sure our voice is heard in Government
Families are struggling to get the care and support they desperately need. With no cure for dementia in sight, care is the only form of support people have. We’ll continue to work tirelessly to ensure the needs of people affected by dementia are addressed in all three nations.
How you can help
Sign up to take action in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and ensure people receive the care they need, the care they deserve