YP Comment: Rural communities need help
There are more than 850,000 people in the UK living with this dreadful condition and, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales after overtaking heart disease last year.
It is a figure that is predicted to reach the million mark in less than a decade as growing numbers of people are diagnosed. Dementia can strike anyone irrespective of where they live or their social standing, but for those living in more isolated communities it can have a particularly devastating effect, as new research reveals.
The study, carried out by a team of UK academics, says those living in the countryside are often reluctant to seek help when someone in their family is diagnosed with dementia. Farmers pride themselves on being self-reliant and this, along with a fear about the impact it may have on their livelihoods, can lead to them becoming more isolated.
This is precisely why the work of the Farming Community Network (FCN) and organisations like the Alzheimer’s Society is so important. As is that of the 670,000 dementia carers in the UK without whose sterling efforts we would have an unprecedented care crisis on our hands.
Finding a cure for dementia, or at least being to able to halt its remorseless march, is the greatest medical challenge of our age. In the meantime, we must ensure that everyone living with dementia has access to the care they need in their communities – no matter how remote.