Scotland's Elderly Facing a Growing Threat of Dementia

Daily Mail (London), September 10, 2009 | Go to article overview

Scotland's Elderly Facing a Growing Threat of Dementia


Byline: Alan Roden Scottish Political Reporter

SCOTLAND is facing a dementia timebomb and must take urgent action to support thousands of vulnerable pensioners, politicians were told yesterday.

The number of sufferers is expected to almost double over the next 20 years, putting crushing pressure on health services. The warning came in a debate in parliament as MSPs agreed to make dementia care a national priority for Scotland.

A new strategy was launched at Holyrood, to be published next spring, which aims to improve early diagnosis, post-diagnostic support and guidance on care in hospitals.

The move follows a recent report that exposed the shameful treatment of Scots pensioners with dementia, who are being 'imprisoned' in their care homes.

Leading a debate in the Scottish parliament, Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: 'As people live longer in Scotland, more people will be affected by dementia and we project that the number of people with dementia will increase from around 70,000 in 2009 to 127,000 in 2031 - that is close to doubling over a period of just over 20 years.

'Nearly every one of those people who have or develop dementia will have partners, children and friends and their lives may also be transformed by the onset of the illness. It is a life-changing event for everyone concerned with their care.'

Tackling opposition calls to pledge millions of pounds for better care, she added: 'There will be hard decisions to make - we cannot do everything all of the time and resources are finite.

'We have established dementia as a national priority in Scotland. That commitment must be measured against the improvement in the quality of care that people with dementia experience.'

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray accused the SNP of 'not doing enough' for Scotland's elderly and called on the Executive to 'match' the [pounds sterling]150million invested by the UK Government for specialist care staff.

'There can hardly be a family in Scotland that has not had the responsibility of caring for an elderly relative,' he said. …

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