Lead dementia charity: government must drive prevention through awareness
By Alex Smith | Wednesday 31 July 2019
Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling on government to lead a national awareness campaign about the ways to reduce risk of dementia and maintain brain health. The call comes as the government today published its Prevention Green Paper.
The Green Paper outlines activities that can be taken to reduce risk of dementia, including not smoking, eating a healthy diet, and staying active. Unfortunately, although a third of dementia cases could be prevented, only one in three people are aware they can take action to protect their brain health according to Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Dementia Attitudes Monitor.
The same research shows just 51% of people know that dementia can cause death despite dementia being the leading cause of death for both men and women across the UK.
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“A third of dementia cases could be prevented by making the same changes that are good for heart health. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s Research UK’s landmark Dementia Attitudes Monitor shows that just one in three people believe it’s possible to reduce their risk of dementia.
“We must do more to address this stark divide between the potential for dementia risk reduction and public awareness. With over a million people expected to be living with dementia by 2021, we cannot wait to share potentially life-saving information about dementia risk reduction.
“Alzheimer’s Research UK has called on government to lead a national advocacy campaign to increase awareness of risk reduction and begin to change the way we think of dementia and brain health.”
The paper also outlines the importance of getting a diagnosis of dementia in ensuring people living with dementia and their families get much-needed support. 82% of people polled by Alzheimer’s Research UK agree there is value in having a formal diagnosis of dementia.
There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK – a number expected to rise to 1m by 2021. Polling by Alzheimer’s Research UK shows dementia is the most feared health condition of people over 65.