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Dementia sufferers in waiting list anxiety

PUBLISHED: 12:12 02 April 2009 | UPDATED: 11:37 12 August 2010

MENTAL health charities have expressed concerns about growing waiting lists for day care places for people with dementia. According to 2008 figures, 4,064 people in Bromley are living with the condition and the numbers are expected to rocket by eight per

MENTAL health charities have expressed concerns about growing waiting lists for day care places for people with dementia.

According to 2008 figures, 4,064 people in Bromley are living with the condition and the numbers are expected to rocket by eight per cent by the year 2015 to 4,395.

Despite Bromley council confirming funding for 21 more day care places last week, the total number it provides is just 231.

Ben Taylor, who became Deputy Chief Executive of Orpington mental health charity Bromley Mind yesterday, said tackling the growing lists would be a priority.

He said: "The additional places will still leave some people on waiting lists. There is a great demand for dementia services which can be expected to increase. This isn't going to be an area where demand stands still. We are having good discussions with Bromley council but there certainly is more that needs to be done and it's important that local and national parties coordinate a thoughtful response to the growing need.

"It is hugely important to provide people with somewhere safe and stimulating to go where they will be cared for by people who understand their needs. It is also important for carers who are under pressure looking after someone with dementia."

The Equality in Later Life report, published by the Health Commission on Tuesday, found discrimination in mental health services for older people.

One mental health trust had a six-month wait just for an assessment.

Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Society, Neil Hunt, said: "One in three people over 65 will die with dementia, yet there is widespread failure to provide good quality care for people with this devastating condition.

"Two thirds of people with dementia live in care homes and up to one quarter of hospital beds are taken up by people with dementia."

A Bromley council spokesperson said: "Supporting people with dementia in Bromley is a high priority for the council. Working with our specialist partners, including Bromley Mind, we are expanding and improving specialist services to help people and their carers in very practical ways so they can live as independently as possible with dignity and safety."

Last Wednesday scientists at Aston University claimed to come one step closer to finding a cure for the degenerative disease by creating an artificial brain. Researchers took cells from a cancerous tumour and "reprogrammed" them to create some identical to the human nervous system. They believe it could mean a breakthough in conditions such as dementia and Parkinson's disease. The term 'dementia' describes the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, strokes and other rarer conditions. Symptoms include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.

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