Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Campaign warns of dementia stigma

Elderly man
The ageing population is set to make dementia an increasing problem

One in three people are uncomfortable around people with dementia, a government survey has found.

Launching a campaign to raise awareness of living with dementia, care services minister Phil Hope said people with the condition were often stigmatised.

As part of the project, people with dementia will be educating the public about how they can best help people with the condition.

In less than 20 years, one million people in the UK will have dementia.

Currently it is thought about 700,000 people are living with some form of the disease.

The survey of almost 1,700 adults found that 53% of people said they do not know enough about dementia to help someone who has it.

But 81% agreed that some people with dementia can still take part in normal activities.

Discimination

Mr Hope said: "Dementia doesn't discriminate and neither should we.

"Our research shows that too often people fear dementia and this causes them to avoid people with the condition, making them feel isolated and stigmatised.

"We want to start to break down this stigma and show the simple things you can do to help people live well with dementia."

The TV and radio campaign will attempt to show that with the right support, people can live well with the condition and continue to do the things they enjoy for a number of years following diagnosis.

It advises people to focus on what the person can do, not what they cannot do, help with little errands or with cooking, listen to the person with dementia, and find out more about the condition

Ruth Sutherland, acting chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, agreed there was a problem.

"People with dementia tell us that, once diagnosed, others begin to act differently or avoid them altogether.

"This has a huge impact on their lives, but we know that with the right support people can continue to enjoy a good quality of life."



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