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Background Info

As he is not yet 65, Frank Kopel is not offered free personal care, so his family are forced to pay the council more than £300 a month for a carer who helps wash and dress him. At the moment many people are being discriminated against because of their age. If Frank was 65 years of age his care would be free, but because he is only 64 we have to pay care costs and for other items such as personal bodily items etc. What does it matter what the number is on the birth certificate? No matter the age, Alzheimer’s and dementia is the same illness. We want the Scottish Government to end this age discrimination and make care available for all ages.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting around 496,000 people in the UK. The term 'dementia' describes a set of symptoms which can include loss of memory, mood changes, and problems with communication and reasoning. These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged by certain diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer's disease. It is estimated that, out of the approximately 62,000 people in Scotland who have dementia, 55% have Alzheimer’s disease, which means that there are approximately 33,550 people with Alzheimer’s disease in Scotland.

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, which means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged. As this happens, the symptoms become more severe.

Symptoms

People in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease may experience lapses of memory and have problems finding the right words. As the disease progresses, they may:

• become confused and frequently forget the names of people, places, appointments and recent events
• experience mood swings, feel sad or angry, or scared and frustrated by their increasing memory loss
• become more withdrawn, due either to a loss of confidence or to communication problems
• have difficulty carrying out everyday activities

Frank Kopel’s wife Amanda wants people to understand the daily issues suffered by sufferers of Alzheimer’s and dementia. She wants to make changes in the way people with Alzheimer’s and dementia are dealt with. There are other uphill battles faced by families. Sometimes these battles are with the DWP, Health Authorities and other medical professionals. This is what the Awareness Campaign was set up to highlight.

We need to take this action to take place to stop other people suffering in Scotland. We need to highlight the difficulties faced each day – these include: financial, support and awareness of the disease etc.   

We request that the Scottish Government looks at the wider national issue and what they can do to end age discrimination in health care in Alzheimer’s.