Campaigners want the badges, which let you park in disabled spaces, made available to those with dementia.
The physical effects of dementia, while less well known that the mental difficulties it causes, can be just as debilitating.
Loss of co-ordination can mean many people with the condition develop what’s known as the ‘dementia shuffle’, and mean getting around can become tricky.
It’s why Michael Dugher, the MP for Barnsley East, is backing calls for a rule change to make people with a form of dementia eligible for blue disability badges, which let you park in disabled car parking spaces.
‘As a proud patron of the Barnsley Independent Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support charity, I know the terrible impact dementia has as a mentally and physically debilitating disease which causes real pain and suffering for patients and their families,’ says Dugher.
‘But people with severe dementia are not always eligible for a Blue Badge, which often means a difficult application process for patients and their carers – sometimes resulting in failure.
‘I’m calling for a change in the rules so that people with dementia are specifically eligible to apply for a Blue Badge, which means easier trips to the shop, the doctor’s or the hospital for people living with dementiaif they choose to apply.
‘I hope the Government will consider this change.’
Currently, councils can decide whether badges should be made available to those with dementia, but it’s not a uniform policy throughout the UK, meaning some local authorities will provide them and others won’t.
Alzheimer’s Society national campaigns manager Sam Gould said:
‘Many people with dementia gradually lose their ability to walk and perform simple tasks as their condition progresses.
‘This means activities that many of us take for granted, like visiting the shops or attending GP appointments, can become physically challenging and make some journeys daunting.
‘We support the call for people with dementia to be able to access the Blue Badge scheme, as this could mean that more people with dementia are able to continue doing the things they enjoy and maintain their independence for longer.’
Find out about the town that’s creating dementia-friendly car parking spaces here.