Friday, 12 April 2013

Thatcher's dementia

People who have a particular interest in dementia, e,g, carers, will have noticed how reticent the media have been in mentioning, never mind discussing, Margaret Thatcher's dementia.  Indeed, the fact that she had dementia was only really confirmed publicly when her daughter Carol wrote about it in a memoir published in 2008.

Even those newspapers and broadcast media that have mentioned the word have generally failed to explain it to a public, many of whom are not particularly well-informed about it.  Even those who have gone into a little detail have reported people's surprise that, even in the last months of her life, she was capable of lucid moments.

But this is not particularly uncommon, especially if people have vascular dementia which it would appear that Thatcher had: she had a series of mini-strokes which led to her withdrawing from public life.  However, in amongst all the various facts, some of them extremely trivial, which the mainstream media have been so keen to throw us, you won't find many mentions or descriptions of vascular dementia.

One could just about understand a reluctance to publicise her condition whilst she was still alive.  Unlike Terry Pratchett, who has seen it as a responsibility to 'spread the word', Thatcher and her supporters were generally silent about her condition.  But once she had died, there would seem no reason not to discuss it.

What is really needed is a massive public campaign to explain dementia, and what it actually means, to the general public.  Here was an excellent opportunity to inform: an opportunity spectacularly thrown away.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I do talks at group settings to get the word out. I believe everyone needs to know this could impact their family and probably will; and once it hits, it's too late to be prepared.