EDWARD Argar, MP for Charnwood, has met with the Alzheimer’s Society and dementia campaigners, to launch an inquiry into Dementia and Disability.
Mr Argar met the campaigners in his role as co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Dementia.
In legal terms, dementia is recognised as a disability and in recent years, this recognition has been an important factor in campaigning for change. Acknowledging that dementia can be a disability helps to identify the misconceptions and barriers that exist in society, which often prevent people living independently, and it provides a framework for action.
The campaigners say that despite dementia falling within the legal definition of ‘disability’ within domestic and international law, it may not necessarily be viewed in this way by the public, organisations and people affected by dementia.
Progress has been made and there are currently over 250 dementia friendly communities across England, but campaigners say more needs to be done to raise awareness, improve general understanding and ensure that people living with dementia can engage with their communities without fear of being misunderstood or excluded.
Against this backdrop, the APPG on Dementia is holding an inquiry into dementia and disability.
The aim is to find out what people think about dementia as a disability, identify the barriers that people affected by dementia face in society and find out what can be done to make sure people with dementia are treated equally.
The APPG will gather evidence until Friday, July 20, and will produce a report in autumn 2018.
Mr Argar said: “I was delighted to be able to help launch this important inquiry.
“Whilst we talk easily about our physical health, despite recent positive progress, we still have a rather long way to go when it comes to things like dementia.
“I listened to the extremely moving account that John O’Doherty, who joined us on the panel, gave about living with dementia and the daily challenges that brings, and I pay tribute to him for his bravery in sharing his very personal experiences with us.
“This insight into John’s life reaffirmed the importance of raising awareness of dementia, something in which we all have a role to play. We must keep it firmly on the political agenda, we must continue to support and press ahead with ground-breaking research to try to find a way of slowing down, and ultimately of curing dementia; and we must do all we can to make sure the care and support is available to people with dementia and their families and carers.
“If we are to create a world where people are free from the fear, and heartbreak of dementia, we must work together to channel our efforts towards that goal. I hope this inquiry will be a catalyst for change and I would encourage everyone with an interest in dementia to submit their views to the APPG.”