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Author: Age Scotland
Published on 28 June 2017 11:00 AM

Age Scotland have welcomed the publication of Scotland’s third National Dementia Strategy today, and called for further action to support people living with dementia across the country.

The charity is working to promote dementia awareness and support for those living with dementia through its Early Stage Dementia Project through established through funding from the Life Changes Trust. Recent research commissioned by Age Scotland showed that developing dementia comes only after having enough money to live on in what people worry about for their later life. The charity has also been working with STUC and a range of other organisations to highlight the need to support people at work who work who are affected by dementia.

Age Scotland is encouraged that the new strategy includes a renewed focus on the provision of post diagnostic support. In 2013 the Scottish Government introduced a ground-breaking commitment to the provision of post diagnostic support, with a guarantee that all those who received a diagnosis of dementia would receive support from a link worker for one year after their diagnosis. However it has become clear that not all those with a new diagnosis received this support and performance against the target has been patchy across the country. Figures for 2014/15 indicated that 40% of those with a new dementia diagnosis were referred for Post Diagnostic Support.

Richard Baker, Age Scotland’s Early Stage Dementia Team Leader said:

“Early support for those people who receive a dementia diagnosis is vital, so we very much welcome the commitment in the new strategy to the continued provision of post diagnostic support.

“90,000 people in Scotland have dementia, but by some estimates only half have received a diagnosis. If we are going to encourage more people to seek a diagnosis and get support, we need to show that it is possible to live well after a dementia diagnosis. That can happen with good post-diagnostic support, so it is good news that for those people who are diagnosed early and assigned a link worker, they will continue to receive support from that link worker throughout their time with the condition. We also welcome the pilots for moving diagnosis into primary care and hope this will contribute to higher rates of diagnosis.

“However we also have to acknowledge that delivery of the current guarantee of a year’s support from a link worker after diagnosis has been patchy across the country. Too many people who have been diagnosed have not been able to access this support. This shows it is vital that we see a strong commitment at a local level as well as nationally to the delivery of this strategy so that people with dementia benefit in every part of Scotland.”

“ We also believe more needs to be done to make people aware of what they can do to reduce their risk of dementia, and that diet, exercise and drinking have all been shown to have an impact on dementia risk. We would have liked to have seen reference to this in the strategy, but even though it is not hope that the Scottish Government will support and engage in activity in this important area.”

1. The new strategy can be found here
2. Total sample size was 1,023 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10 and 13 April 2017 by YouGov Plc. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).

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