Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease.
And this week we’ve learned that one of our most beloved actresses, Dame Barbara Windsor, has been suffering with Alzheimer's.
She was diagnosed in 2014. Her husband, Mr Scott Mitchell, has spoken out. He says that he and Barbara feel time is right to speak out due to a worsening of the stars’ symptoms.
Tim Parry, director at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "We are saddened to hear of Dame Barbara's diagnosis with Alzheimer's. It's to be congratulated that Scott is speaking out to encourage other affected individuals and families to do the same when it's right for them.”
"It's important to bring the disease out into the open as a crucial step towards us tackling it."
"Alzheimer's is a physical disease, in the same way that cancer or heart disease are, and there shouldn't be stigma in being open about it."
What is Alzheimer's disease?
Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia - a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning.
There are currently around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia.
Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include:
- memory loss
- problems with speech
But, the disease can start years before patients display any symptoms.
None of the treatments currently available can stop the disease. However, they can help to temporarily reduce the symptoms.
In the course of my work as a Mental Health lawyer I often have clients where the disease has caused advanced dementia. As a result of their symptoms, they have to be cared for in an environment where psychotropic medication can be prescribed and administered which cannot routinely be done in a care home.
Often my clients have husbands and wives, children and extended family who have cared for them at home. When the time comes for professional care at the point that the symptoms require a specialist approach, often this cannot be provided near to their home.
Being displaced and care being provided a long way from home is a huge problem.
It often means that my client feels even more isolated, that there is nothing at all that is familiar to them in an already strange and frightening world as the disease progresses. It may mean that their loved ones (with whom they have been surrounded by and cared for by for many years) may not be able to visit regularly or at all. My clients’ are often detained under the Mental Health Act without permission to go out and, of course, without the ability to negotiate a long (and maybe costly) journey to visit friends or family.
With a woeful lack of specialist dementia homes across the country this situation is on the rise especially as our elderly population is increasing fast!
At Swain & Co our specialist Mental Health & Community Care teams are hugely experienced in acting for patients detained under the Mental Health Act or subject to control of the Mental Capacity Act. We can also advise and assist relatives.
We are compassionate, knowledgeable and dedicated to improving the situation for patients and their families.
For free advice and assistance, call us on 02392 483322 or fill out the contact us form and we can call you.