Dementia Friends – Can YOU help?

The sad announcement of the recent death of Sir Terry Pratchett brought to an end his profile raising involvement with Alzheimer’s disease.  His decision to make his diagnosis public did much for public understanding of the disease, particularly as he refused to give up his work. 

The public attitude to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia generally has changed considerably in the last few years partly due to people such as Sir Terry and partly due to the Dementia Friends initiative.  This is a national initiative run by the Alzheimer’s Society with funding from the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office. 

The aim of the initiative is improve people’s understanding of dementia and its effects thereby changing attitudes. In turn this should make the country more dementia friendly and improve the lives of those currently living with the condition.  With better awareness there will be better tolerance which will also help those caring for people with dementia.

As a result of people living longer, dementia is becoming more common.  It is thought that some 800,000 people in the UK have some form of dementia – more than half having Alzheimer’s disease.  In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia.  This figure is likely to soar to 1.7 million people by 2051.  In the past dementia and other forms of mental health issues were not talked about.  We still have someway to go before people with mental health issues are accepted in the same way as those with physical health issues

The plan was to have one million Dementia Friends by this year.  This figure was exceeded in February and there are now 1,020,535 Dementia Friends.  Previously becoming a Dementia Friend involved attending a training session but it is now possible to do the training on line. More details are available on line so if you would like to get invloved and help click here.

Richard Lane
Dementia Champion

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This article has been prepared for general interest and information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. While all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by the firm or the authors.