Women and dementia - Get involved
The project want to begin to change public and personal attitudes and public policy towards women with dementia and female carers, whether paid or unpaid.
Starting the debate:
In November 2014, women (and some men) from around the country got together in York and at the UK Dementia Congress in Brighton to discuss share the thoughts and experiences of women living with dementia, women who are caring for family members with dementia, and the female workforce.
Read the final report from the events (Adobe PDF, 94KB)
Some themes that have arisen so far:
We need more information to have a more informed discussion:
- More research and wider research from different angles (eg women's studies), including research into different caring roles, and different support options.
- More data from project evaluations we want gender to be built into evaluations.
- Include gender issues in research proposals.
- Raise the profile of gender in discussions about health inequalities.
Practice needs to change:
- The system needs to recognise that caring is a choice not an obligation.
- Emotional support for people with dementia and carers needs to be as readily available as practical support.
- Professionals need to change their language and attitudes about women's roles in dementia both in caring roles and in the services offered to women with dementia.
Awareness raising and education
- We need to work with professionals to explore their assumptions about women and dementia.
- We need to educate women to think differently about caring.
- We need to work with more women's groups feminist and more mainstream (mumsnet, WI, DEEP, networks of carers) to put dementia on the women's agenda.
- Policy makers need to accept that dementia disproportionately affects women.
- We need to have a system to value caring both paid and unpaid including 'female' attributes such as empathy and kindness.
- Support for families who reduce income to care for relative eg family allowance
- More nuanced policy to reflect difference.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on dementia has highlighted the need to increase the status and pay of staff working in dementia-related roles across the spectrum and has called for everyone working in the sector being paid at least the living wage. Find out more at http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/appg
If you have any thoughts or ideas - please get in touch.