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Saturday 29th October 2016

How to tackle dementia

4th March 2009

Alzheimer's Society chief executive Neil Hunt assesses the government’s first ever strategy to tackle dementia.


The government’s strategy to tackle dementia is long overdue, considering the condition costs the country £17 billion a year and affects 700,000 people.

The strategy has four key themes for delivering a seamless service: professional and public awareness; improving early diagnosis and support; living well with dementia; and making the change happen.

While getting an accurate and sensitive diagnosis is vital, a lack of awareness and the stigma surrounding the condition often provides a barrier to people seeking help and receiving one.

People often receive a mixed response from GPs, a situation the Alzheimer’s Society is attempting to redress through its Worried about your Memory? campaign, which targets GP surgeries with information about the symptoms of dementia.

Other recommendations in the strategy have the potential to deliver a better quality of life for people with dementia such as improving access to memory clinics, personalised dementia advice and peer support.

As more people develop dementia it is important that all professionals have an understanding of basic dementia care. The strategy can help achieve that with training, professional development and vocational development.

While £150m has been set aside for the first two years of the strategy, it is essential that the final three years receive similar investment in order to improve dementia care in the long term.

The Alzheimer’s Society will be working tirelessly to improve dementia care but it is crucial that professionals play their part.


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