The Prime Minister today launched a new campaign to help people support loved ones with dementia over the festive season.
He was joined by actress Carey Mulligan and Dominic Batty, who has dementia, and his wife Jill – to launch the ‘Xmas to Remember’ campaign which sees celebrities and the public adding memories to a Xmas to Remember Tumbr blog. Together, they hung a special dementia awareness bauble on the Downing Street tree.
The public are being asked to share their favourite Christmas memories on Twitter by using #xmas2remember or by posting them on the Alzheimer’s Society Facebook page. Read about the Prime Minister recalling his most memorable Christmas.
Awareness of dementia is particularly important during the festive season when people may be seeing relatives for the first time in months and notice changes in behaviour.
The Xmas to remember blog includes Alzheimer’s Society information about how to help relatives with dementia enjoy the festive period. It also directs people to advice on what to do if they spot signs of dementia in loved-ones over the holidays.
Carey Mulligan, whose grandmother “Nans” has dementia, said:
“My favourite Christmas memory is every Christmas we spent with my grandmother. She used to alternate between us and our cousins and every year we were lucky enough to have her was particularly precious.
“This Christmas we want people to tell us about their favourite Christmas memory – it can be funny, sad, silly or serious. Write a memory on a piece of paper, take a photo and tweet using #xmas2remember or comment at facebook.com/alzheimerssociety“
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Dementia is one of the biggest challenges facing our population today which is why I launched the Dementia Challenge and am supporting the Dementia Friends project. There are already nearly 700,000 people in England with Dementia who need support, but hundreds of thousands of them aren’t diagnosed and aren’t receiving the help they need.
“We may not want to think about Dementia at Christmas time, but spotting the signs of Dementia as soon as they start is the best way to help our friends and family keep the memories they make for as long as possible.
“That’s why I’m launching the Christmas to Remember campaign and encouraging everyone to share their Christmas memories. By working together to raise awareness of the signs we can tackle this dreadful disease and make Christmas a happier time for millions.”
Dementia is caused by brain diseases which cause the brain to slowly shut down; the most common is Alzheimer’s. Symptoms to spot dementia include struggling to remember recent events, forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects or not being able to recall information you’ve read.
Calls to Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline increase by a third immediately after Christmas, many of these calls are from worried relatives. If you would like advice regarding dementia, the number to call is 0300 222 1122.