As part of Dementia Awareness Week, the Prime Minister today called on up to 30,000 National Citizen Service young volunteers to help people with dementia by giving their time in care homes around the UK.
The scheme forms part of a national dementia challenge aimed at raising awareness and understanding, improving the lives and experiences of people living with dementia, and helping make our communities more inclusive.
Sixteen and seventeen year olds will be asked to take part in one off social action days or longer term projects to provide support, conversation, interaction and care.
The Prime Minister said:
“Dementia is a terrible, heart-breaking disease – and tackling it is a personal priority of mine. Two months ago I promised that we’d lead an all-out, national fight-back against dementia – and it’s happening. We’re putting more money into research and more thought into dementia care.
“This is a whole-society problem and it needs a whole-society response. That’s why we are connecting thousands of socially engaged young graduates from National Citizen Service with opportunities to make a difference with old people in their community.
The scheme was just one under discussion at a meeting of the PM and the dementia-friendly communities champions’ group at the Alzheimer’s Society – one of three groups set up to explore how the Government can work with business, charities and local authorities to create dementia friendly communities, support medical research and improve dementia healthcare.
The meeting was co-chaired by Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Angela Rippon and Jeremy Hughes, Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive, and attended by key businesses, including Lloyds Bank, Tesco, Royal Mail and BT.
They discussed how to deliver better training for staff to understand and respond to people with dementia, how products and services could be adapted to meet the needs of people with dementia and how to encourage more volunteers to create dementia-friendly communities.
David Cameron added:
“We’re also encouraging more businesses to join this fight-back. I’m delighted to see the progress being made here. Already 20 big organisations like Lloyds Group, Tesco and E.On have signed up to become more dementia-friendly – and over the coming months I want to see many more follow suit.
“Throughout this fight-back I am staying heavily involved – driving forward new ideas, mobilising action and making sure we make real progress. For the sake of millions in our country we’ve got to keep this spirit of energy and defiance alive: we’re going to keep searching for treatments, keep looking for ways to make life easier for those with this disease – and keep taking the fight to dementia.”
Meanwhile, a new online portal has today been launched to allow members of the public are to have their say on the Dementia Friendly Communities programme.
Visit www.dementiachallenge.dh.gov.uk and give your views before the deadline of 31 July 2012.