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DH aims to tackle public's 'fear' of dementia

A campaign to increase the rate of early diagnosis of dementia has been launched by the Department of Health as research shows half of people admitted they would find it “hard” to talk to a relative about the condition.

Supported by the Alzheimer's Society, the three-month A day to Remember campaign aims to tackle the public's fears around talking about the condition, urging them not to delay in seeking help.

It will encourage people to have that first 'difficult conversation' with a friend or family member when they spot the signs and symptoms of dementia, and encourages them to visit their GP.

DH research shows a third of people (33%) would be “discouraged” from talking about dementia or memory loss with a friend or relative for fear of upsetting them and half would find it “hard” to talk about dementia if they thought they had developed the condition.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of people also said they would not be confident in telling the difference between the signs of dementia and the normal signs of aging.

The DH-led campaign forms part of the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia, which was launched in March this year.

“Dementia is a devastating disease that puts enormous strain on people and their families,” said Cameron.

“Shockingly, nearly 400,000 people are unaware that they have the condition and so we want to make sure more people know what dementia is and how to spot those tell-tale signs.

“With the number of sufferers set to rise in the years ahead, I am determined that we go much further and faster on dementia.”

Celebrities Sir Michael Parkinson, Fiona Phillips and England goalkeeper Gordon Banks have all had personal experiences of dementia and have lent their support to the campaign.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged everyone to be “brave enough” to “play their part” in tackling the challenge of dementia.