Dementia Friends campaign launched
Public Health England and a leading dementia charity have joined forces in a major new campaign to encourage people to play their part in tackling one of the biggest health issues facing the country. Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative aims to show it will take a whole society response to enable people with the condition to live well. It is estimated that 61,281 people in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, and Suffolk are living with dementia – the initiative will show everyone the small things that they can do to make a difference.
Some of England’s best-loved performers, including Sir Terry Pratchett, Lily Allen, Ray Winstone, Ruth Jones, Michael Vaughan, Ruth Langsford & Eamonn Holmes, Leighton Baines, Meera Syal, Simon Pegg, Paul O’Grady, Fiona Phillips, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon, will perform the iconic Beatles track ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ in a new ad, which will be shown on national TV.
The advert will encourage viewers to become a Dementia Friend – which simply means learning a few useful tips to help make life better for those living with dementia. To become a Friend, individuals first watch a short online film – which explains what dementia is, how it affects individuals and what people can do to help those living with the disease. Once they’ve watched the film, they then enter their details in order to receive a Dementia Friends badge (to help spread the word), and ‘Little Book Of Friendship’, which includes further ideas and tips on how to be a friend to someone with dementia. Alternatively, they can attend a face-to-face awareness session in their area.
Sir Paul McCartney has also been announced as an ambassador for Dementia Friends, to highlight that people with dementia can still live fulfilling and rewarding lives, with a little help from their friends.
Dr Gina Radford, Anglia and Essex Public Health England Centre Director, said: “Becoming a Dementia Friend involves finding out more about what dementia is, and the small things that they can do to make a big difference to a person living with the condition. People can live well with dementia and we can each help by having some awareness of how we can support people who have dementia that bit better.
The statistics speak for themselves, 61,281 people are living with dementia across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk and we can all do something to support them by signing up to become a Dementia Friend.”
The initiative forms part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, and builds on commitments declared at the 2013 G8 Dementia Summit, which included a call to improve the quality of life for people living with the condition.