It has been aptly stated by Terry Pratchett – author of the Discworld novels – that “the baby boomers are getting older, and will stay older for longer. And they will run right into the Dementia firing range”. The strain this puts on health services is often discussed, but less so the strain it puts on the families and friends of those suffering, who are often in a position of care.
Neurodegenerative diseases do not just ‘happen’ to a single individual, but affect many around them whether they are a spouse, child, sibling or grandchild. The disease compromises the lives of all these individuals and yet so far there is little support available for them in society.
The trauma of losing a loved one to a neurodegenerative condition – a kind of death-before-death – cannot be underestimated. Watching a parent or grandparent slip away from you while being able to do nothing but remember what they cannot is something that could happen to any of us.
Read more of Jonathan Steffen’s essay on ‘The Management of Neurodegenerative Diseases as a Societal Challenge’ here.View Archive