Dementia is not a disease of the elderly alone.
Most of the estimated 84,000 sufferers in Scotland will be in their later years, but around 3200 people under 65 - some as young as 39 - also suffer from the condition and for a long time many of them have struggled to get the help they need. Some have even said that, after being diagnosed, they have felt abandoned by the health service.
That is unacceptable, but at least some limited action is now being taken by the Scottish Government. A new information pack for the under-65s has been launched by NHS Health Scotland, the health promotion arm of the health service, and the charity Alzheimer Scotland. The pack - which will be given to everyone in Scotland who is diagnosed with the condition - explains how to manage the symptoms of early-onset dementia and where to go for further support.
It is a welcome reform and, as part of the Scottish Government's national dementia strategy, will hopefully begin a change in attitude and approach to what has been a largely forgotten story.
Part of the problem has been a tendency among younger people who develop the symptoms of dementia to laugh them off as forgetfulness or carelessness or dismiss them as trivial. This can prevent an early diagnosis, which is critical in early-onset dementia as the mental decline can be quicker than in older patients.
The new information pack could help tackle this lack of awareness and in time reverse the delays in identifying sufferers - it is not uncommon, for instance, for it to take three to four years for patients to be diagnosed. Longer-term, more research will be needed to establish why some people are more prone to early-onset dementia than others.
In the meantime, the Scottish Government must know that, while the new campaign is welcome, the problem of how the NHS in Scotland tackles dementia runs deeper and will not be solved by an information pack alone. The Government does have an ongoing national dementia strategy, which began this year, and it is well intentioned and lays out the aims of the strategy, which includes improving support for people with dementia and their carers and improving care in hospital.
It is on this last point in particular that the most improvement is needed. Last year, a report by the watchdog Healthcare Improvement Scotland exposed the disrespectful attitudes of some medical staff and the under-65s with dementia who said they felt abandoned by the NHS may be falling victim to such attitudes.
More training will be needed to change these attitudes, and it is also important to ensure staffing levels are sufficient. Levels of diagnosis of dementia are improving in Scotland - and the new information pack will help improve them further - but the standard of treatment and care must improve too.
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