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'Dementia friends' wanted for training by government

8th November 2012

The government has launched a new initiative in England to help with the diagnosis and care of people with dementia.

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It is aiming to train a million people over the next three years to become “dementia friends” to spot signs of the illness and help sufferers as part of plans to raise awareness of the condition.

Prime Minister David Cameron said awareness of the condition - which affects 700,000 people in England and has been described by him as a national crisis - remains shockingly low with cases set to soar in the years ahead.

The Dementia Friends scheme has been adapted from a similar programme in Japan that recruited three million volunteers.

Under the initiative, sessions in workplaces and town halls will explain what dementia is, what it is like to have the condition and what people can do to help if they meet someone with the symptoms.

Mr Cameron said: “We cannot underestimate the challenge we face in dealing with dementia in our country.

“There are already nearly 700,000 sufferers in England alone, but less than half are diagnosed and general awareness about the condition is shockingly low.

“Through the Dementia Friends project we will for the first time make sure a million people know how to spot those tell-tale signs and provide support.”

The Dementia Friends scheme has been backed by the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK and will cost the government £2.4m.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the government was making plans to make next year a “year of raising awareness of dementia.”

 

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