The campaign aims to help people develop an understanding of dementia and turn it into action to help people in their community living with the disease.
Dementia is arguably the biggest health crisis facing the UK: there are currently 665,065 people in England who have dementia and an estimated twenty-one million people in England have a close friend or family member with dementia. In Herefordshire alone, there were about 1,000 people diagnosed with dementia last year: there are likely to be hundreds more people living with undiagnosed dementia.
Public Health England and the Alzeimer’s Society have come together to inspire the Dementia Friends campaign which is encouraging people across the UK to become a Dementia Friend by watching an interactive video online to increase their understanding. The campaign aims to create a network of one million Dementia Friends across England by 2015.
Helen Coombes, director of adult wellbeing, said:
“One in three of us over the age of 65 will develop dementia which is an incredibly high statistic. Yet people with dementia can live well, and it is the responsibility of the rest of the community to help them do so.
“Many people don’t understand what dementia is or what sort of issues people living dementia face on a daily basis. By participating in the short information session to become a Dementia Friend, people can play a crucial role in helping us take one step closer to creating a dementia-friendly society.
“We are encouraging council staff to become Dementia Friends by supporting their participation in the information session. This will help them understand the growing needs of our elderly population and make sure that these needs are considered when planning existing and future services.”
David Ash, Alzheimer’s Society Regional Operations Manager for the West Midlands, said:
“People with dementia sometimes need a helping hand to go about their daily lives and feel included in their local community. Dementia Friends is this country’s biggest ever project to change the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about dementia and this new campaign promises to push this vital initiative to a new level.
“There are already thousands of Dementia Friends across the West Midlands but we want to see many more people signing up and helping us reach and beat our target of a million by 2015. Whether people attend a face to face session or watch the short online video, Dementia Friends is about turning understanding into action. From helping someone to find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia on social media, every action counts.”
Find out more about becoming a dementia friend in this video