A campaign to increase early diagnosis rates for dementia across England by tackling the public’s fears of talking about the condition was recently launched by the Department of Health with support from the Alzheimer’s Society.
The A Day to Remember campaign is part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. It encourages 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.
New research shows:
- Half of people (50 per cent) say they would find it hard to talk about dementia to a friend or family member they thought might have it;
- A third (33 per cent) say that personal concerns (such as fear of upsetting someone or feeling awkward or anxious) would discourage them from talking about dementia or memory loss with a friend or relative; and
- That nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of people would not be confident telling the difference between the signs of dementia and the normal signs of ageing.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the condition, what initial signs and symptoms look like and how to seek help. Advice on how to have difficult conversations about the condition will also be available.
“Dementia is one of biggest challenges we are facing,” says Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb. “But while there remains no cure, early diagnosis can help people take control of their condition and plan for the future.
“With an ageing population we know the estimated 670,000 people living with dementia in England today is set to grow, which is why we have made dementia a clear national priority.”
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.
To help family members and others to start talking about the condition with their loved ones, the Alzheimer’s Society have issued advice on how to have difficult conversations at alzheimers.org.uk.