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We need help now to fight this illness
A HUSBAND whose wife is battling dementia has welcomed plans to double Britain’s spending on research into the disease in the hope of finding a cure by 2025.
But Ray Boswell, aged 75, of Stourport, says those with the disease and their carers need support “here and now” to cope with the impact of the devastating degenerative brain illness. Prime Minister David Cameron said a cure could be “within our grasp” when he addressed scientists, politicians and campaigners at the dementia summit in London this week, called by the UK as part of its year-long chairmanship of the G8.
Mr Cameron wants the Government to double public, commercial and charitable research and development in dementia, from £66 million in 2015, to £132 million by 2025. He said the world should be “just as resolute” in tackling dementia as it had been in the past against malaria, cancer, HIV and Aids.
Mr Boswell is a carer for his 82-year-old wife Jean, who attended her GP in March 2011 because of his concerns about lapses in her memory, including forgetting people’s names. He said: “The big need is also for the provision of care, including respite care. So many people who have met through the Alzheimer’s Society are struggling with funding when it comes to the need for a care home, finding a care home that’s appropriate and struggling with the costs involved. “Research is needed for the future but that won’t help us. “Money for research is fine – it will hopefully help people in future but it is about the here and now with so many people.
“I’m not sure whether research will stop it but if the research can find medication to slow the process down then clearly that has to be much better.” He also said the Government needed to make people more aware of the support that was available. He said excellent support was provided by the Alzheimer’s Society locally, including dementia cafes. He attends a group at the Hive in Worcester which meets on the third Thursday of each month between 10.30am and 12.30pm. He also said more high profile ambassadors such as writer Terry Pratchett were important in raising awareness and increasing the profile of the disease.
A spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Society said: “The Government has led the world in calling this G8 summit on dementia. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive real change for people with dementia and their carers.” There are more than 1,100 people living with dementia in Worcester, with 800,000 people across the country living with the disease but only half are diagnosed.