The Alzheimer’s Society has published its own election manifesto ahead of the UK going to the polls on 12th December to select a new government.

The charity’s aim is to get dementia and social care to become front and centre of the political debate in the coming weeks, with outgoing chief executive of the organisation Jeremy Hughes recently telling the Guardian that he believes “dementia can be in the vanguard of social care reform”.

He explained that, in getting things right for dementia, services will also change to better serve people with a variety of needs across the population.

Mr Hughes also revealed that he’s “more confident than before” that reform will happen to change the system in England and end the unfairness that exists in the current social care system.

However, he also said that in order for this reform to materialise, the charity needs to put dementia firmly on the agenda in the run up to the election, to ensure that all the parties set out how they would tackle the current crisis.

The charity has set out three steps that the next government should take to ensure people with dementia receive the care they need without having to pay unfairly for this.

At the top of the list is a radical reform of social care to “address the specific needs of people with dementia, ending the daily injustice they, and their families, face in accessing the good-quality care to which they are entitled”.

The second step is to make sure that people with dementia are still able to participate in their communities. And the final step is to “close the research funding gap between dementia and other diseases”.

As the Alzheimer’s Society points out, dementia is the greatest health and social care issue facing the UK. Someone develops the condition every three minutes and it is still the biggest killer in the country.

One of the big problems is that those with dementia are not entitled to free NHS care, unlike people who develop diabetes, heart conditions or cancer. According to research from the charity, the cost of providing the care they need can run to £100,000 per person.

Among the key things that the Alzheimer’s Society wants politicians to commit to is the creation of a £2.4 billion NHS Dementia Fund. This is an immediate investment that’s needed, the organisation states, to “shore up the system and give people with dementia greater access to affordable and high-quality care in the shorter term”.

It also wants better support to be provided for those who are caring for relatives with dementia. One of its recommendations is for 75 per cent of eligible carers to be offered access to the Strategies for Relatives (START) intervention. This provides individual psychological counselling that’s been shown to reduce rates of depression and anxiety for up to six years.

While it’s good to see the Alzheimer’s Society campaigning for more to be done for those suffering from dementia, and their families who are supporting them, it’s not going to lead to changes just yet.

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