Health and social care chiefs in Cambridgeshire are backing the Dementia Friends campaign and encouraging local people to learn about the ways they can help.

The national campaign aims to recruit one million Dementia Friends across England by 2015 to help people with the condition live safer and more independent lives.

Dementia is one of the biggest health crises facing the UK. There are approximately 670,000 people in England with dementia, with one in three over 65 developing the disease.  In 2011, Cambridgeshire had over 7,000 residents living with dementia and with more people living longer this number is set to grow.

Cambridgeshire County Council is supporting the campaign led nationally by Public Health England and the Alzheimer’s Society. It will help to create a greater understanding of dementia within communities and the small things that can be done to make a real difference to people living with the condition. In addition, it will support friendships through the course of dementia.

Helping someone with dementia can involve very simple actions, including:

  • behaving patiently with someone showing the signs of dementia
  • spending more time with, helping or supporting a friend or relative affected by dementia
  • signposting people affected by dementia to more information and support
  • volunteering with an organisation to support people with dementia
  • fundraising for a dementia-related cause
  • helping your workplace to be more dementia friendly
  • spreading the word about Dementia Friends
  • helping someone with dementia to get on the right bus
  • sharing the Dementia Friends link on Facebook.

To take part in the Dementia Friends initiative, visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk.

Dr. Liz Robin, Director of Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said:

"People with dementia not only lose their memory, but may sometimes also lose their friends. People who do not understand dementia can find it difficult to deal with. By becoming a Dementia Friend you can increase your understanding of the condition and the everyday challenges people living with the disease may face, providing you with the knowledge to understand and help those living with dementia."

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