The government has recently undertaken Britain’s biggest ever project to tackle the issue of dementia. “Challenge on Dementia” is a series of measures which will try to increase awareness and understanding of the condition in order to improve care for patients and help secure early diagnoses.
There are currently 670,000 people with dementia in England and this is set to double in the next 30 years.
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has pledged to make dementia a priority: “Too many people with dementia feel cut off, lonely and fearful without the support and understanding they need.
“We need to build a society where people can live well with dementia, enjoying the best possible quality of life for as long as possible.”
Prime Minister David Cameron is calling on members of the public to become “Dementia Friends”. This scheme will provide free coaching sessions on how to spot the signs of dementia and provide support to people with the condition. It is hoped that the initiative will boost early diagnosis for dementia patients and help the public to better understand the symptoms.
By the end of 2015, the PM hopes that one million people will have been trained to be “Dementia Friends”. Each will be awarded with a special “Forget-Me-Not” badge once they have completed their training, identifying them as people able to assist dementia patients.
David Cameron recently spoke about the problems with diagnosing dementia: “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”
The government is putting £9.6 million into dementia research, and providing a £50 million fund to help create specially adapted wards and care home spaces for dementia patients.
Extra support will also be given to GPs, helping them to diagnose dementia early, and to help the person manage it. There is also a target set to increase understanding of the condition in schools.