Redditch MP Rachel Maclean writes…
THIS week is Carers Week, a chance for all of us to recognise the great work that carers do, which far too often goes unseen.
Recognising the work carers do and improving support is a cause close to my heart.
As the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Carers, and as a carer to my mum who is living with dementia, this is a priority for me.
Just recently I introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons.
My Bill is born out of my personal experience, but I know many other people have similar stories to tell. It sets out how to better address just one area of daily life that affects the 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia.
Many families and carers are concerned for their loved one’s safety while driving with the condition.
My Bill does not seek to prevent those diagnosed with dementia from driving if they can do so safely.
Indeed, one in three people with earlier-stage dementia still drives, and it is critical for those so diagnosed to maintain their quality of life and dignity.
My Bill will require doctors to inform the appropriate driver licensing agency of a diagnosis of dementia; to require drivers diagnosed with dementia to undertake a supplementary driving assessment; and for connected purposes.
Driving is at the heart of a person’s independence, and it can be hugely difficult to come to terms with its loss.
Yet, at the same time, carers and families may have serious concerns about the safety of their loved one and of road users.
Here in Redditch we have some great local groups and charities supporting our carers. I’ve seen first-hand the work Carers Careline is doing.
They’re a vital service and having heard from carers, I know just how much they value everything Carers Careline does.
I know all too well the pressures carers find themselves under.
Working full-time and living hundreds of miles away from my mum, it is hard to juggle all the this entails.
She’s still able to live alone, but she has fantastic carers who visit her every day.
But living in Redditch and working in London, everyday my mum is on my mind.
I hope the focus on carers continues for more than just one week. I will continue to champion carers in Reddith and in Parliament.