Editor's comment: We must tackle the care crisis
PUBLISHED: 08:30 30 January 2020
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Terry Jones once apologised to me in a bar - not something you forget in a hurry.
It was in a Hampstead pub, The Flask (I believe), and he had done nothing wrong. Two of his companions nattering away and blocking the path as we tried to leave.
It's barely an anecdote but it is no doubt an incident which will ring true to the many people whose paths he crossed during the decades he lived in the area.
Not only is his influence on the comedy world beyond question, but he appears to have been a good soul.
As with so many of us, his later years were charactarised by the onset of dementia.
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The Python star died aged 77, having been diagnosed in 2005. He was in the younger bracket for the condition but was far from the youngest.
Around two in every 100 people aged 65-69 have it. Life expectancy has risen and is now around 80.
Characterised by symptoms of memory loss, dementia is a condition which affects so many people - so many who we love and cherish.
It is so important we demand action this condition, which takes over people's lives, and not just those suffering from the disease, but their friends, families and carers too. According to the Alzheimer's Society, there are more than 42,000 people in the UK under 65 with dementia. We have a social care crisis and the treatment of dementia will no doubt play a significant part in how we deal with it, and, most importantly, how we provide support and care for an ageing population.
Billions is spent on dementia care each year but much of it is taken on by families rather than the state.
There is currently a gap between dementia and cancer research, which many nurses and doctors agree needs to be closed.
It is time for a significant increase in the resources put into dementia care and research. It's something that affects us all.