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BT backs new government dementia awareness campaign to improve diagnosis

Press Release   •   Oct 19, 2012 00:00 BST 

BT is supporting a new dementia awareness campaign to help people identify the early signs and symptoms of the condition that affects 800,000 people across the UK.

The campaign aims to help people spot what to look for in the early stages of the condition and encourages people to speak to their GP if they have any concerns about themselves or a loved one.

Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, mood changes, and problems with communication and reasoning.

BT is supporting the awareness campaign as part of their involvement in achieving ‘Dementia Friendly Communities’. BT is leading cross sector efforts to improve the lives of people with dementia by increasing awareness and making sure people have access to businesses and services that help them stay connected in its community.

Dr Paul Litchfield, BT’s chief medical officer, said: “One in three people over 65 will develop dementia which is why it is so important that we spread the word about the signs and symptoms of dementia. Diagnosis opens the door to treatments which could help slow the symptoms, as well as gives people access to support, information and vital services. We are proud to be supporting this campaign and want to encourage everyone to find out more.”

The Challenge on Dementia was launched in March 2012 by Prime Minister David Cameron to tackle one of the most important issues we face as the population ages. He announced his commitment to make the UK a world leader on dementia, setting out his Challenge to society, the medical profession, business and Government. The Prime Minister launched the Challenge alongside the Alzheimer’s Society which is a partner with Government in this work.

The Challenge is an ambitious programme of work designed to make a real difference to the lives of people with dementia, their families and carers. We need to act for the following reasons:

• The number of people with dementia is increasing, In England today 670,000 people are living with dementia. And the number is increasing with one in three people set to develop dementia in the future.

• Diagnosis rates are low, only 42 per cent of people in England with dementia have actually been given a proper diagnosis. There is huge variation across the country from 29 per cent in some areas to around 67 per cent in the best.

• There is a lack of awareness and skills needed to support people with dementia and their carers. Raising awareness is key to helping people with dementia live independently and be active members of the community for longer.
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