With awards season is in full swing, it was great to see dementia being brought to the forefront of conversation as Julianne Moore was awarded an Oscar for her role in Still Alice. One person in particular who was touched by the film was Lesley Loizou who works at Anchor's West Hall, a care home that offers specialist dementia care.
Of course no government document will ever please everyone, but after the intensive focus on dementia in recent years there was a fear that it could drop off the political radar and that the already scant resources would dry up even more. At least this 'Vision' document suggests that the focus on dementia might be here to stay.
Finally, I figured out the reason for the disturbance. It was none other than Aneurin Bevan, the architect of the National Health Service, spinning in his grave. Yes, I was watching Channel 4's NHS: £2 Billion a Week & Counting.
I've nothing against our girls, who were both outstanding, but if Moore repeats her successes in the Golden Globes and Baftas, something very dear to my heart could become more talked about, in better ways, and less misunderstood and stigmatised. I'm thinking of dementia, which affects 850,000 of us in the UK and over five million Americans.
Aging is about saying goodbye and a reminder of the ephemeral nature of life. Botox and plastic surgery are the favoured companions of many these days but they appeal to our fear of life and by inference, death. It is a sad indictment of our society that we do not value older people or the process of aging.
Throughout her life my Mother was a beautiful and elegant person and thus I found the deterioration of her appearance during dementia extremely distressing. When she passed away I was moved to tears by the dozens of letters that commented on her perfect appearance.
This Christmas thousands of people across the country will be alone; they won't be alone in the conventional sense of not having a place stay, or people to look out for them: they will face exclusion because of an illness that can change the very person they used to be.
This will be the fifth Christmas that Mary has had to share with dementia. The first Christmas was the one where she couldn't remember whether she had bought enough snacks for everyone and ended up with six family packs of peanuts. Then she forgot to turn the oven on, so dinner was four hours late...
You are stuck in a busy, noisy, unfamiliar building. You are unsure of where you are or even what time of year it is. All the corridors look the same. You find it hard to judge how far away the floor is. You can't remember where the toilets are. You can't remember why you're here. You feel a rising sense of panic as you search for clues to where you are, and even who you are.
My mum doesn't know who I am. Sadly, I don't mean that in a spiritual, angsty kind of way - she literally has no idea who I am. Sometimes I'm one of her sisters. Sometimes I'm a nurse. Sometimes I'm her dead mother. Once I was Shirley Bassey, which made for an interesting evening.
Last week, the social care watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, agreed to publish guidance for the public and care home providers on the use of overt and covert surveillance in care homes.
They don't tell you about the friends she's had for years who gradually stop coming to visit because they 'hate seeing her like that'. I'm pretty sure she hates being 'like that' too, but she could really do with a friend. They'll all be at her funeral though, because that's what friends are for, isn't it?
This potentially fatal condition occurs when the arteries that supply the heart muscle with oxygen become narrowed by a build-up of fatty material potentially leading to blood clots and fatal heart attacks. Risk factors include things like smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise.
Perhaps the cruelest aspect of Alzheimer's is that it robs families of their loved ones before they are truly gone. Loss of memories and physical abilities frustrates patients and pains family. Every health professional who works with Alzheimer's looks forward to the day when patients can be told there is a cure.
Right at the beginning of Jerome K Jerome's masterpiece "Three men in a boat," the hero picks up a medical dictionary and discovers that he has the symptoms of every disease mentioned with the exception of housemaid's knee. The prescription he is given surprises him. After beer, steak, exercise and early bedtimes, it ends with the words "and don't stuff up your head with things you don't understand."
Ever walk into a room and forget why you went in there? You are not alone. Research from Bupa has identified that two thirds of adults (63%) admit to suffering embarrassing or annoying 'memory blots' three or more times a week.