The Alzheimers Society is launching 'Dementia Friends' as a way of training people to spot the early signs of dementia.
By 2015, they want to have trained a million people to have the know how to be able to help people with dementia, to make them feel understood and included in their community.
The idea is to help make everyday life better for people with dementia by changing the way the nation thinks, talks and acts. Dementia Friends will be trained to know the facts for dementia, so that if there is someone that needs the help in the community, then it they are there to help them and the person is met with kindness instead of unawareness, and to pass this knowledge on to those around them.
Dementia Friends says:
Alzheimer’s Society research found that nearly two thirds of people with dementia feel lonely, and almost half reported losing friends following their diagnosis. With one in three people over 65 developing dementia, it’s vital we change this picture.
By giving people a new level of understanding and awareness, Dementia Friends aims to empower people to make a difference.
The government has launched the programme following a programme in Japan that had a similar concept and recruited three million volunteers
They will have sessions in workplaces and town halls across the country to explain what dementia is, what it is like to have the condition and what people can do to help if they meet someone with the symptoms.
David Cameron has launched Challenge on Dementia to tackle the disease and is intending to double the budget for dementia to £66m by 2012.
There are already nearly 700,000 sufferers in England alone, but less than half are diagnosed and general awareness about the condition is shockingly low.
Through the Dementia Friends project we will for the first time make sure a million people know how to spot those tell-tale signs and provide support.
Dr Eric Karran, director of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said:
At a cost of £23bn a year to the UK economy, we all agree that dementia is not a problem we can ignore.
Finding treatments for Alzheimer's and other dementias is no easy task, but it's one we must tackle if we are to make a real difference to people's lives.