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Sally Magnusson calls for dementia care changes

TV presenter Sally Magnusson, daughter of the late Mastermind presenter Magnus Magnusson, has spoken out against the treatment of those with dementia during a recent appearance at The Independent Bath Literature Festival.

Magnusson’s Mother Mamie Baird was diagnosed with mixed dementia in 2009, and in her call for action she commented that society tends to treat those with dementia as “less than human”. She explained: “They think they are none the wiser and that’s why they can be left in hospital with no food or drink. It’s not true.”

Earlier this week, actress Prunella Scales spoke about her Alzheimer’s diagnosis and Magnusson praised her candour: “There’s a stigma around dementia which is so much part of the problem. It’s the same as the way cancer was treated 30 years ago – you would never talk about it.”

Magnusson runs a charity called Playlist for Life, which is collaborating with Glasgow Caledonian University to study the use of music as an alternative to drugs – previous research has shown familiar tunes can improve the mood, ability to understand and awareness of those with dementia. Playlist for Life provides dementia patients with an iPod loaded with their own bespoke playlist to improve their quality of life.

Magnusson has called for an increased supply of high quality care at home services for those suffering from dementia, with a focus on wellbeing and happiness.