Public Health England and leading health charity, the Alzheimer’s Society, have joined forces in a major campaign to encourage the public to tackle one of the nation’s biggest health issues. The Dementia Friends initiative, which has also been backed by some of Britain’s biggest stars, aims to show that it will take a whole society response to enable people with the condition to live well.
Celebrities including Amanda Holden, Ray Winstone, Chris Martin, Paul O’Grady, Simon Pegg and Alesha Dixon feature in a video, urging the public to become ‘dementia friends’, as they perform the Beatles classic, With A Little Help From My Friends.
Author Sir Terry Pratchett, who has Alzheimer’s, is also involved. And yesterday Sir Paul McCartney was announced as an ambassador for the campaign.
Many Right at Home UK owners, managers and caregivers have also undergone the training to become Dementia Friends, in addition to the specialist training in dementia care that we offer in-house.
Those who go on to become Dementia Champions are also able to offer support to family members and loved ones who so often bear the brunt of the emotional strain that can come from living with the disease.
Dementia Friends has released research which shows other businesses are also becoming more willing to help with dementia care.
A report compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research for the campaign showed that most firms have already provided or would consider providing support to carers of someone living with dementia.
The report also shows the average person diagnosed with dementia has been in their current job for at least nine years. The relatively rapid progression of the disease means that it is inevitable that many people affected while still working will have to take early retirement.
Researchers found that carers are struggling to fit care duties into their lives as they spend 28 hours a week on average caring for loved ones. The majority (51 per cent) are also working; employed carers spend an average of 18 hours a week caring on top of their jobs.
Despite the survey showing employers’ willingness to help, Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said more must be done.
“The fact that thousands of workers in this country are juggling caring responsibilities without support and understanding from their employers is frightening,” he said. “Society is not yet fully supportive of people with dementia, either in the workplace or in everyday life. I would love to see everyone become Dementia Friends and make life that little bit easier for people with dementia.”