David Cameron has today (Tuesday 12 February) taken part in one of the first Dementia Friends sessions since the UK Alzheimer’s Society initiative went live this morning. Joined by Alzheimer’s Society celebrity Ambassadors Sally Lindsay and Lynda Bellingham the Prime Minister took part in a Dementia Friends session making him a Dementia Friend. The event was also attended by members of the public including a Fire-fighter, a Police Officer, a member of the National Federation of Women’s Institute and a staff member from the Royal Academy.
Dementia Friends is a UK initiative that aims to give a million people an improved understanding of the condition by 2015. The free volunteer-led Dementia Friends information sessions are being rolled out from Bristol to Sunderland in the UK today. They aim to improve public knowledge of dementia, by helping people understand what living with the condition might be like, and the small things that they could do to make a difference to people living in their community.
Dementia Friends is being jointly funded by the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office, as part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. Prime Minister, David Cameron said:
‘This is a massively important issue for our country. There are 800,000 people with dementia already and we’re heading towards a million. Of course we need to do more medical research and improve our health and social care, but all of us have a role too.
‘We’re aiming for a million people to become Dementia Friends between now and 2015. Today’s session was fascinating. I really enjoyed it and I learnt a great deal. I hope that up and down the country, people will get involved in the sessions and learn a little bit more about how we as a community can become more dementia-friendly.’
At Be Independent HomeCare our home care team provide support to a large number of clients with dementia. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a collection of symptoms characterised by the loss of cognitive and social functioning and behavioural changes. It is caused by many different factors of which the most common is Alzheimer’s disease.This accounts for more than 50% of all cases of dementia. In Ireland, it is estimated that some 38,000 people are likely to have dementia. Because our population is ageing, these figures are likely to reach between 80 000 and 100 000 over the next 30 years.