Dear Prisoners Families Voices. I was forwarded a link to your blog by a close friend of mine on dementia and prison visiting. My mother has early stage dementia and we go to visit my brother in prison who is serving a long prison sentence, so this subject is very close to my heart. May I just give your readers some statistics please:
Who is affected?
There are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2021. This will soar to 1.7 million by 2050.
One in three people over 65 will die with dementia
More than 60 per cent of all care home residents, aged over 65, have a form of dementia.
There are over 17,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK.
Dementia affects 11,000 people from black and minority ethnic groups in the UK.
The above information is taken from the ALZHEIMER'S SOCIETY
The figures are quite staggering as you will agree. We often hear and read about wheelchair access for disabled prison visitors, but we seldom read about prison visitors with mental health issues/dementia etc.
My Mother will deteriorate as there is no cure for dementia. She too gets agitated on prison visits. Sometimes she forgets her son is in prison and thinks she is visiting him at home. She once asked a Prison Officer why he was in her son's house, bless her. The prison search is quite stressful for her too, because some people suffering with dementia don't like any form of physical contact or being touched, so a visit search can be daunting not just for her, but for myself too as I find myself having to explain this to the prison officers. Some prison officers are fine with it and rightly so too. But others do not understand because they do not understand the illness. I personally would like this subject to be brought forward because we rarely hear about it. I also think that The Prison Service should take on board that there are prison visitors who require special needs and should be catered for. Her son is in prison, but my Mother is serving a prison sentence of her own which wasn't given to her by a court of law. If you know of any support groups set up to help families in this situation, can you please email me with the details because I don't know of any that exist.
Love and Best Wishes