16:47 08 November 2012
One million people are hoped to be recruited by 2015 to be educated and trained regarding the disease, dementia. This is the latest bid by the government in order to help create an awareness of the illness, and to help improve the care given to people with dementia.
These people are being referred to as ‘dementia friends’, who are expected to help combat the disease. There are around 700,000 dementia sufferers in England and – as reported by The Independent – 400,000 people with the illness in the UK who are not diagnosed.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who launched his Dementia Challenge early this year, is expected to speak on the matter on Thursday.
Based on reports, he will announce that new technology will be trialled to reduce the period of time it takes to diagnose dementia. It is thought the medical equipment can reduce the time frame by 5/6, down to 3months from 18months.
The PM said that the level of awareness with regards to dementia is “shockingly low” compared to the statistics that relate to the disease.
He said: “We cannot underestimate the challenge we face in dealing with dementia in our country. There is still a long way to go in fighting the disease but together we can improve the lives of millions.”
The training for ‘dementia friends’ will be free sessions and will take place in church halls as well as work places. During these classes, individuals will learn how to spot the onset of dementia and how to offer help to sufferers. It is hoped this will help people to better understand dementia.
A “forget-me-not” badge will be issued to those who have completed their training so others know they are able to help.
“Dementia is everyone’s problem and we all need to be part of the solution,” Jeremy Hughes, the Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, told The Independent.
“Without a helping hand, this can mean people are left feeling isolated, unable to be part of their community and in some cases even unable to continue living at home.”
According to the director of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, Dr Eric Karran, dementia costs the UK £23billion each year. Reportedly, the number of people to suffer from the illness is expected to double in the next three decades.
Anyone wanting to become a “dementia friend” can visit the website dementiafriends.org.uk, or text “Friend” to 88080.
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