“Our society overvalues youth and undervalues older adults. There is an assumption that if you are old, frail, and especially if you have dementia then you cannot possibly have good quality of life – this is simply not true. People with dementia themselves and the families that support them perform everyday miracles of creative adaptation to enable them to live well with dementia. Health and social care services have a duty to support them in making these miracles happen.”
I was lucky enough to become part of a real multi-disciplinary team where traditional hierarchies had been abandoned. For example, the team was not led by the consultant old age psychiatrist but a senior Occupational Therapist. The other team members, nurses, social workers and others, brought so much to the table; we delivered more and better care together than we ever could have done separately.
While training as a psychiatrist, Sube saw the value of research to help improve clinical outcomes for older people. He began his research career working with local authority home care services in Lewisham, identifying high levels of depression and dementia and low levels of recognition and treatment. This led to a fellowship on the treatability of depression in the disabled elderly clients of home care services. The data, published in the BMJ, showed that therapeutic nihilism in this group was baseless.
- Improving public and professional attitudes to and understanding of dementia
- Enabling early diagnosis and treatment
- Improvements in care provision from diagnosis through to end of life
“It’s invaluable because students get to see health systems from the point of view of that family, experiencing both the positive and negative. Our students are taught about how the system manages the old and frail by those who know best – the older people themselves.”