Helping People With Dementia Get By With A Little Help From Their Friends

Author:Ms Karen Taylor
Profession:Deloitte
 
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In May 2014, Public Health England and the Alzheimer's Society, as part of the Prime Ministers Dementia Challenge, joined forces to launch a new campaign to encourage people to become Dementia Friends. Dementia Friends is a social movement which aims to create one million "Dementia Friends" by 2015. Currently there are over 500,000 Dementia Friends in the UK. This week, Deloitte's entire Executive became Dementia Friends and, in leading by example, hope to boost the number by encouraging other Deloitte employees, and hopefully their clients, to follow suit.

Becoming a Dementia Friend enables people to learn a little bit about what it is like to live with dementia and how to turn that understanding into action. This could be helping someone find the right bus or being patient in a till queue if someone with dementia is taking longer to pay. Every action counts.

The Executive's support of the Dementia Friends initiative is the latest development in Deloitte's partnership with the Alzheimer's Society which, in July 2013, became one of our three national charity partners. Yesterday, following a presentation by the Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Society, Jeremy Hughes, the entire Executive became Dementia Friends.

If the Executive's example isn't encouragement enough, I thought I would use this week's "Thoughts from the Centre" to explain some of the facts about dementia and why you should consider becoming part of this important social movement.

Dementia is a progressive, terminal, brain disease which causes a decline in multiple areas of function including memory loss, reasoning, communication skills and the ability to carry out daily activities. People live for an average of 11 years following a dementia diagnosis. The four main causes of dementia are Alzheimer's disease (about 55 per cent), vascular dementia (about 20 per cent), dementia with Lewy bodies (about 15 per cent), and frontotemporal dementia (about five per cent). Dementia is strongly associated with ageing, although early onset dementia does occur in small number of people under the age of 65. The prevalence of dementia roughly doubles every 5 years over the age of 60. Moreover, in 2014 it is estimated that:

some 815,800 people in the UK have dementia (both diagnosed and undiagnosed), 62 per cent of whom have Alzheimer's disease around 670,000 people act as primary carers for people with dementia that by 2021, as the UK's population ages, some one million people will have...

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