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Cameron outlines 'dementia friend' plans

The prime minister is calling on a million members of the public to provide support for dementia sufferers.

David Cameron has set out his ambitious plan to create masses of “dementia friends” who will be able to spot the signs of the condition and offer support for sufferers.

Mr Cameron, who says that tackling dementia is a “personal priority”, hopes that one million people will sign up to receive coaching sessions by 2015.

The sessions, which will be provided in church halls and workplaces, will help to raise awareness and teach people how to support those with the condition.

“We cannot underestimate the challenge we face in dealing with dementia in our country,” he said.

“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.

“Last March I made clear that I wanted to do something about that and we are now going further and faster to help people and their carers, and to support the research needed to prevent and treat the condition.

“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.

“There is still a long way to go in fighting the disease but together we can improve the lives of millions.”

There are 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK and the number is expected to rise significantly with the ageing population.

Mr Cameron has also announced that the government will be giving almost £10m for dementia research and £50m to make wards and care homes more comfortable for people with dementia.

He also announced other initiatives to boost early diagnosis and help the public to better understand the condition.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Too many people with dementia feel cut off, lonely and fearful without the support and understanding they need.

“We need to build a society where people can live well with dementia, enjoying the best possible quality of life for as long as possible.

“I want Britain to be one of the best places to be for dementia care.”

Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Dementia is a complex condition and any emphasis to improve awareness should be welcomed. This is especially important with an ageing population such as ours placing stretched services under greater strain.

“However, awareness itself is not enough. We want to see a guarantee from the government that it will invest and make a priority those services that have the capacity and expertise to support people living with dementia and their families.”

He added: “These volunteers will undoubtedly be a boost to those providing care. That being said, it must go hand in hand with proper investment, especially when those with the expertise to treat dementia, such as nurses, are being cut. This should not be an either-or scenario.”

Readers' comments (13)

  • jumping on the bandwagon again DC, you are an absolute joke.

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  • tinkerbell

    mostly unemployed nurses will be able to take on this volunteer role. No point in wasting all our skills.

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  • I assume DC as all his cronies will become dementia friends?

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  • What a load of rubbish! Are all these 'dementia friends' going to be CRB checked? I doubt it. David Cameron you really don't think things through, do you?!!!!

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  • anybody with gray hair, lines and wrinkles or over a certain age will be assumed to have dementia and patronised by these 'friends', many of whom will be suffering from 'wounded helper syndrome'. Why can't everybody learn in school and the home just to treat all others with respect and offer help of the right kind where it is genuinely needed and leave the rest to carers and healthcare professionals?

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  • Dementia friends? 1 million VOLUNTEERS! You wouldn't even get that if we were fighting the Boche again!
    This is just a brilliant opportunity for the likes of those criminals who fleece a pensioner of all their life savings on double glazing or a tarmacked drive, or who steal their jewellery whilst being a bogus gasman.
    I thought that Camoron wanted us to go back to Victorian times, but I am wrong, we're going back a thousand years to feudal times where the population worked for free for the benefit of a few 'Lords' ( most of those thieves have been riding our backs for a thousand years and would love a return of prima nocte!).
    Here's an idea, Dave, when people work you pay them a salary, which they can then use to buy goods and services, and pension provision for old age whilst supplying money to the Exchequor in the form of taxes. The places where they buy their goods and services from employ further people to sell these goods and services, as well as buy them from manufacturers. Buying things from manufacturers allows them to employ people building and designing and shipping and advertising. All of these people pay taxes.
    When the worker has no income, they cannot buy goods and services. The man in the shop cannot employ anyone, as no one can buy his goods and services. The manufacturer cannot employ people because no-one will buy their product.
    Its not rocket science Dave and George, really isn't. Next you'll be saying that in the worst global recession in nearly a century we should cut ties to the economic bloc that we have been doing 95% of our trading with for nearly 50 years ( to the detriment of our former trading partners in the Commonwealth), that successive leaders of your own party lead us inexorably towards integration.
    If you want to go back in time, Mr Camoron, go back to when we manufactured our own warships, made our own steel, owned our own motor manufacturers, supplied our own power, had a nationalised rail network owned by our population, not by the French and German people, and when the gap between a CEO and the average worker was 15 times, instead of 300. Any time before 1979, actually, Dave.

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  • tinkerbell

    i don't fancy going back to victoriana and being a child chimney sweep thank you very much. I thought we had escaped all that malarkey.

    Let's face it, the elderly folk are going to be left very much to their own devices as there isn't enough money to care for them anymore and they are using too much of the budget and are not cost effective (allegedly) and a bit of a drain on society. Unless the private care homes cherry pick those who are not a management problem, who sit quietly in a chair all day and then sleep all night, otherwise like everyone else they are done for.

    They'll be stopping traffic a lot as they wander out into the road in a state of bewilderment.

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  • tinkerbell

    what the unelected government, without a mandate, could possibly introduce is some 'balde runner' scheme where we all pop of around the age of 30, unless you are, of course, incredibly rich and then you can live a bit longer.

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  • tinkerbell

    meant 'blade runner'. It was a film where everyone was micro chipped to expire at age 30.

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  • What will happen to me when I get old, I am sure I will get dementia. I don't want some old CONservative do-gooder looking after me thank you very much.

    Who will volunteer to be DC dementia buddy?

    The 60m could open non-hospital dementia units, it wouldn't go far but it's better than nothing. I don't believe that people with dementia benefit from being in an acute hospital environment once they have recovered from an acute illness.

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  • tinkerbell

    having recently been seconded from the wards to the community as an elderly CPN, or rather a CPN for the elderly, or maybe both, i have been saddened to visit the private care homes to find the majority of the elderly are sitting around in chairs doing nothing.

    I visited a lovely lady today in a care home who told me she didn't find life worth living as she was so bored doing 'nothing'. She then became tearful and went on to tell me she was hoping to die soon but wouldn't try to kill herself as she would be too frightened. She told me 'before i came here i was a bright, fun loving person'.

    When i left i told her i was sorry to have asked her so many questions and she replied 'no i enjoyed it'. It made me wonder if that was the most interaction she'd had in a long time but it was good to leave her with a smile on her face saying she would look forward to my next visit.

    She also said to me 'i hope i've done good and got all the right answers'. I said 'you've done great'.

    I don't doubt that the carers at these homes are doing the best they can but there are far too many residents compared to staff in order to offer any regular quality interactions probably.

    There's got to be a better way than just having elderly farms where they are all cooped up like battery hens.

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  • tinkerbell | 9-Nov-2012 9:23 pm

    "There's got to be a better way than just having elderly farms where they are all cooped up like battery hens."

    Hear, hear.

    I'm afraid anything that David Cameron utters just sounds like total waffle and, considering what is happening to the NHS, is a disingenuous attempt at appearing to 'care' about the public.

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  • volunteers are much cheaper than hiring and training staff. what about families?

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