4th March 2015
The YouGov poll of young people aged between eight and 17 showed that nearly a third knew someone with dementia and 62% would like to help someone with dementia, although a lack of understanding was holding them back. More than half believed that if people understood the condition, then life would be better for those affected.
To coincide with the release of the poll results, the Alzheimer’s Society and Public Health England launched a bid to create a dementia-friendly generation. Children’s TV presenter Richard McCourt (one half of the TV comedy duo Dick and Dom) called on youngsters, parents, teachers and youth leaders to become a Dementia Friend – someone who has a basic understanding of what it is like to have dementia and the ways they can support someone with the condition. Since its launch two years ago, one million people have signed up to be a Dementia Friend.
From a personal perspective, any campaign to raise awareness of this cruel disease gets my vote. It has been a devastating experience to see my father struck down by severe dementia in his sixties. At a time when I thought my Dad would be taking my three sons to the pub for a pint (which he would have adored), he is now in a home. With over two million people expected to develop dementia in the next 10 years, the condition is likely to affect us all in one way or another.
If Alzheimer’s Society can get youngsters on board by developing a greater understanding of the condition, then that will be a hugely successful PR campaign and a hugely positive move for society.