An election campaign and Icelandic ash what an amazing combination! I’ve taken a deliberate decision not cover either in this week’s news pieces. Wall to wall manifestos, pictures of Nick Clegg and rows of grounded aircraft are all too much!
Dementia report draws positive conclusions on life quality
People with severe dementia can be enabled to express views about what is important in their lives, according to new research.
The research by the Mental Health Foundation for Alzheimer’s Society also concluded that maintaining a good quality of life was “perfectly possible” following a diagnosis of dementia.
And it found a “discrepancy” between the views of people with dementia and those caring for them on what was most important to their quality of life.
Separate research for Alzheimer’s Society found only 13 per cent of the general public believe that someone with dementia could have a good quality of life at all stages of their condition.
New figures suggest there are 750,000 people living with dementia in the UK.
Those researching the My Name Is Not Dementia report talked to 44 people with dementia, including those from black and minority ethnic communities and people with more severe dementia living in care homes.
The project aimed to improve the measurement of quality of life for people with dementia, drawing directly on their own views and experiences.
It found that the top five indicators of a good quality of life were: relationships, or someone to talk to; the environment; physical health; a sense of humour; and independence.
The report concludes that people with dementia have “a clear need for regular, everyday, one to one social interaction and this will have significant benefit to their quality of life and social inclusion”.
And it found that people with more severe dementia can express their views about quality of life issues using picture cards.
The report says a way should be found to monitor the quality of life for people with dementia, measuring whether it is improving or declining and providing information on the factors that might explain any changes.
Such monitoring would “provide vital information” on the success of public policies, such as the implementation of the national dementia strategy for England.
Ruth Sutherland, acting chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “By listening to people living with the condition, as this report does, we can better understand what is important to them and how they would like to live their lives. We need to learn to see the person not just the dementia.”
Heather Roberts, 54, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease four years ago, said: “Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease certainly changed my life but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a good quality of life.
“Yes I have dementia but there is much more to my life than that.”
Disabled people face barriers in enforcing access rights
A new report has called for major changes to make it easier for disabled people to enforce their rights to access goods and services.
The Rights and Reality report by Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) says improving access is a “vital step” towards achieving equality for disabled people, while poor access is a “key contributing factor” to disability poverty.
The report says the “major block” to change is the difficulty disabled people face in enforcing their rights under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and challenging discrimination.
Two in five of those questioned in a survey of nearly 1,100 disabled people had experienced problems accessing goods and services in the last year.
But one in five had never heard of the DDA, while another 51 per cent knew little or nothing about it
The survey also found that more than a quarter of disabled people who had experienced difficulty accessing goods and services had taken action to challenge it, such as a formal complaint or not returning to a shop. But only one per cent had taken legal action.
And less than a tenth of those who took action said the organisation had made any improvements.
Among the report’s recommendations, it calls for a review of the effectiveness of the law and work to raise awareness of disabled people’s legal rights.
It says the government, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and other bodies should examine how to improve support for disabled people to take legal cases.
It also calls for a pilot scheme to test out a new system – possibly a form of arbitration hearings – that would be midway between making a complaint to a service provider and taking them to court.
And the report says that the development of the rules and regulations to accompany the new Equality Act – which will replace the DDA – provides an opportunity to tackle some of the problems.
But it also calls on the government to consider setting up equality tribunals to hear legal cases on accessibility.
Guy Parckar, public policy manager for LCD, said that inaccessible goods and services “can contribute directly to the chances of a disabled person living in poverty through barriers to employment, education and other opportunities”.
He added: “Our report demonstrates that only a tiny minority are tackling the issue through legal action.
“The new Equality Act is a golden opportunity to make sure that the law works better for disabled people.”
FA to expand opportunities for disabled footballers
The governing body of English football has published plans to create hundreds of new disability football teams over the next two years.
The proposals are part of the FA’s new disability football strategy for 2010-2012, which it published this week.
The strategy says the FA will set up 140 new male and 150 new female disability teams by 2012, to add to the existing 400 male and 26 female teams.
And there should be 34 new disability county leagues by 2012, on top of the existing 14.
The FA will also develop a network of full-time county disability football officers to develop disability football, increase participation, raise coaching and playing standards, and develop local clubs and competitions.
And it will train 50 new disabled referees over two years, and ensure that 10 per cent of young people selected for an FA young coaches programme are disabled, while all “skill tests” for five to 11-year-olds will be “inclusive”.
The strategy also pledges that the FA will continue to support six elite national disability football squads: for players who are amputees, Deaf, blind, partially-sighted, have cerebral palsy and have learning difficulties.
The FA’s goal is for each team to be ranked in the top four in Europe.
Lord Triesman, the FA’s chairman, said: “Disabled sport needs to be in a position to reap the maximum benefits from the exposure that it will receive from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“This strategy aims to put disability football into such a position.”
The strategy was launched at the draw for the IBSA Blind World Football Championships, which will take place at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford from 14-22 August.
News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com