Alzheimer's Society Parliamentary Reception

Posted on Wednesday 26th October 2016 by David Barrett

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Alzheimer’s Society’s Parliamentary Reception in the splendid surroundings of the State Rooms of Speaker’s House, marking the efforts to make Parliament more dementia friendly. I was there in my capacity as Treasurer of ‘Building Dementia Friendly Tonbridge’.

We were addressed by Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, and by David Mowat, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Health and Care. They spoke of Theresa May’s commitment to continue the previous Prime Minister’s push to make the country more dementia friendly, of the Dementia Friends activity within the palace of Westminster and of the changes to matters such as signage across the parliamentary estate.

We were also addressed by Shelagh Robinson, an Alzheimer’s Society spokesperson living with dementia. She talked movingly about how people diagnosed with dementia do not suddenly become unable to do anything for themselves; seven years after her own diagnosis, she still oversees the work of a team of counsellors. However, elsewhere in her life, she struggles with numbers and with getting dressed.

The audience was varied, with representatives from the Japanese, German and Korean embassies, showing that this is a challenge shared across all nations; in September, Germany launched its own Dementia Friends initiative. Equally, there were representatives of many other organisations involved in some way in making the UK a better place for those living with dementia.