This week, I’ve lent my support to Alzheimer’s Society’s new Right to Know campaign, and I’m asking others in North Durham to do the same.

Here’s why…

Can you imagine feeling ill but being told your new symptoms and behaviour were just a natural part of ageing? Can you imagine having a disease but no treatment, information, or support to help you manage it?

For many people with dementia living in North Durham, this is the reality. Denied a diagnosis, denied treatment, and denied the chance to plan for the future while still able to do so. It simply doesn’t happen with other conditions. Why should dementia be different?

Currently, fewer than half of the 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK receive a formal diagnosis, denying them the chance to understand what’s happening to them, and to plan for the future while they have the capacity to do so. Many people have to fight for months, and in some cases years simply to get the diagnosis they need and then struggle to access information and support afterwards.

In recent years much has been done to increase awareness and understanding of dementia but there’s still a long way to go. That is why I am signing up to support Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Right to Know’ campaign and would urge you to do the same. Alzheimer’s Society campaign is calling for:

• More people to get the diagnosis they need
• No one to wait longer than 12 weeks for a diagnosis
• Everyone with dementia to have access to a Dementia Advisor to help come to terms with their diagnosis and live well with the condition

I want to ensure that everyone in North Durham with dementia receives the certainty of a diagnosis and the right information and support to come to terms with, and manage their condition. Everyone with dementia has a Right to Know. A Right to Know about their condition in order to tackle it head on, and make the best of it. A Right to Know about the information, advice, and support services out there. This is not a lot to ask, and only what people deserve.

You can sign up to support the campaign at www.alzheimers.org.uk/campaignersnetwork