Have your say - Blue Badges and dementia

The government is proposing to make the Blue Badge guidance more inclusive of people with ‘hidden disabilities’, such as dementia. Share your experiences.

People living with dementia and Blue Badge holders

The government in England are consulting on the guidance for the Blue Badge scheme.

A Blue Badge enables a disabled driver or a badge-holding passenger or driver to park closer to their destination, if required. Badge holders have more choice in where to park their car. They can park without charge or time limits, and can use dedicated parking spaces on public streets and car parks.

Blue Badges are very important for maintaining independence. They can support people to stay in employment, socialise and be part of the community, allowing them to continue to do the things they enjoy.

How does this affect people with dementia?

Not everyone with a disability can get a Blue Badge. There are currently two ways a person can be eligible.

  • Without further assessment: This is an automatic process and applies if someone is eligible for certain benefits.
  • With further assessment: Assessments are carried out by local authorities. There is national guidance in place to assist them with this.

At the moment, in order to be considered for a Blue Badge, guidance states that someone must have ‘very considerable difficulty in walking.’ Although this does not specify whether the disability is physical or non-physical, it is often interpreted by Local Authorities as only applying to people who are physically unable to walk. This leads to some Local Authorities being unwilling to issue a Blue Badge if the condition does not manifest itself physically. An example of this would be if the person becomes anxious or has difficulties with perception and co-ordination.

As a result, people living with conditions such as dementia and autism often miss out on the vital support that having a Blue Badge can provide.

What is the government proposing?

The government is proposing to change the guidance. The aim is to make it more inclusive of people with ‘hidden disabilities’, including dementia. They are also proposing to allow a range of healthcare professionals - not just GPs - to undertake an assessment for Blue Badge suitability.

How you can have your say and make a difference

We think it is vital for the government to understand the issues currently facing people with dementia in getting a Blue Badge. We need to clarify what needs to change.

This is a very important opportunity to make your voice heard, so please do share your experiences. Details of the consultation questions and how to respond is available in a range of accessible formats.

If you would like to share your experiences with us as feedback, please email [email protected].

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7 comments

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My wife has severe dementia problems and has difficulty walking so I applied for a blue badge through my GP who was very understanding.My wife was awarded a blue badge which has made a massive difference to her quality of life.Thes things are very important to people with dementia as they have enough problems to cope with.

Most certainly dementia sufferers should be entitled to a blue badge. Being able to park in a designated area would help them find their car unless they have sufficient loss of capacity to be ineligible to drive a car themselves, but it would still benefit the carer/driver in terms of accessibility and minimising anxieties. However, it is not quite true to say that a blue badge holder can park without charge or time limits. I have a blue badge myself for physical disabilities and there are many time restricted zones and local authorities can still charge but just allow use of designated areas.It can vary considerably, for example in the main Borough car park in Oswestry you pay for the first hour but it is free thereafter, and in the Town Council park you pay the same as anyone else but can use a designated space if available. Also, Supermarkets have their own rules, some free, some not.

I don't think a diagnosis of dementia in its early stages should automatically qualify someone for a Blue Badge. There are people who are fortunate enough to be well for some years after diagnosis. However, as symptoms progress then it is certainly a necessity. In my area we also pay for parking, even with a Blue Badge, but it is the wider space to open the car door fully that is the main advantage, when people need help to get in/out of the car.

mmm the well off with cars ! screw the rest of us.

My brother has severe arthritis,a heart condition and vascular dementia,he has to be taken out in a wheelchair,I'm his full time carer and I don't drive,we have to rely on hospital transport for appointments,and that is the only time he ever leaves the house,having a blue badge would mean we could get friends to take him out and about,and save him from being housebound,there are volunteer drivers where I live,but they can't take wheelchairs in their vehicles.

I do feel that often people with Dementia are discriminated against, they are often prone to falls, it makes it easier if there is a designated area to park, because it is often nearer to shop etc, it can mean that caregivers can take them out and give them a better quality if life. Many illnesses are not always visible

Husband is slow getting in/out of car, another car user reversed up to park in the adjacent bay necessitating me having to hoot the car horn & my Husband called out "I have problems" in doing so we prevented other Driver from smashing our car door into my Husbands leg!
In town Husband became agitated and went into 'meltdown' so we went back to the car. I spent the next few days completing tasks on my own which is the better option than to leave Husband in a Coffee shop telling him not to move & I'll be back shortly. A Blue Badge would be so useful to help keep independence/dignity as he gave up driving on suggestion of Neurologist - which was difficult to accept!

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