The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia has been boosted by a campaign, launched on World Alzheimer’s Day, calling for the public not to delay talking about dementia.
Called ‘A Day to Remember’, the campaign will encourage people to have that first ‘difficult conversation’ with a friend or family member when they spot the signs and symptoms of dementia, and encourage them to visit their GP.
It includes a short film featuring three high profile personalities, Sir Michael Parkinson, Fiona Phillips and legendary England goalkeeper Gordon Banks who have shared their personal experiences of dementia.
The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia was launched in March this year and included a commitment to change people’s understanding of the condition. In addition to the £3.2m campaign, the Challenge committed to transform the UK into a leading light of dementia care and research, by driving up diagnosis rates; increasing investment in research and raising the quality of dementia care.
The Prime Minister said:
Dementia is a devastating disease that puts enormous strain on people and their families.
Shockingly, nearly 400,000 people are unaware that they have the condition and so we want to make sure more people know what dementia is and how to spot those tell-tale signs.
With the number of sufferers set to rise in the years ahead, I am determined that we go much further and faster on dementia.
That’s why I launched a Challenge on Dementia in March, doubling the research budget and working across society to improve health and care, and supporting people to live well with the condition.
Initial signs and symptoms of the condition, which is caused by diseases including Alzheimer’s Disease, may include short-term memory loss that affects daily life, unexplained anxiety or depression and problems thinking or reasoning, such as finding it hard to follow conversations or TV programmes.
Just over two fifths of those living with dementia (42 per cent) in England receive a formal diagnosis, which means that many thousands of people with the condition go without the medical or emotional support that could help to slow its progress, or to help them to live well with dementia. The number of people in England living with dementia is 670,000, but this is expected to double in the next 30 years.
Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador, Fiona Phillips, whose parents both had dementia, is supporting the campaign to help people plan for the later stages of the condition. She said:
If you think a loved one is showing the signs of dementia, it’s so important to take that first step and talk to them about it. There are things you can do to help; treatments can work well for people, but early diagnosis also means you can plan and get help, instead of doing everything in a panic.
External site: Dementia Challenge website - get involved
External site: NHS Choices - Dementia, if you’re worried, see your doctor
External site: Alzheimer’s Society - Tips for having a difficult conversation with a loved one about dementia