'Getting it right for all people living with dementia' - Minister of State for Care, Caroline Dinenage

On World Alzheimer's Day, Minister of State for Care Caroline Dinenage comments on the importance of more support, more dementia-friendly action, and more research to help people living with dementia.

'Today is World Alzheimer’s Day and I’m pleased to be joining the global community in marking this important occasion. I’m getting involved with this worldwide movement not just as the UK’s Minister of State for Care but as someone with personal experience of relatives with dementia. I have seen first-hand how all-encompassing its impact can be – from the difficulties faced getting a diagnosis, to the dramatic effect on personhood and reliance on care and wider support. My grandmother had dementia and she relied heavily on my mum who became her main carer. My uncle also lives with the condition and is very fortunate to be cared for by brilliant, knowledgeable care home staff.

Not all of the 50 million people living with dementia worldwide or the 850,000 in the UK have adequate access to the diagnosis, care and support they need, and this must change.

In the UK, our efforts to improve the support for people with the condition have seen us make considerable progress since the launch of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020.

We have moved from being a country with one of the worst diagnosis rates in Europe to one of the best.

The establishment of the UK Dementia Research Institute is providing a new focal point for research across care, prevention and technology. Likewise, the Dementia Discovery Fund, which makes early stage venture capital investments to develop ground breaking drugs and treatments for all forms of dementia, has exceeded its target to raise £250 million, helped by government investment.

We have seen a significant shift in public attitudes. Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative has been a huge success in changing the way we think, talk and act on dementia, with 2.5 million people taking action as Dementia Friends and over 350 Dementia Friendly communities established in the UK.

I became a Dementia Friends Champion myself earlier this year and it's inspiring to be reaching our ambition of a truly global dementia-friendly movement as we continue to share our learning across the world and to learn from others.  Now forty countries are developing similar programmes, with almost 15 million Dementia Friends collectively across all continents.

The UK has been at the forefront of growing awareness and action on dementia. We have already trained one million NHS health and care staff in dementia awareness and we are exploring options to deliver this training to the wider social care workforce. We want to hear from health and care workers on what more we can do to improve things and with this in mind we recently launched the Department’s new workforce engagement platform, TalkHealthandCare. I encourage everyone working in adult social care to join in that conversation.

What is clear is that no country can face the dementia crisis alone, and designing adequate, affordable and sustainable care for people with dementia is a necessity for every government.

We are committed to meeting this challenge by creating a stable and skilled health and care workforce, by finding a solution to funding dementia care, and through the provision of high quality, person-centred post-diagnostic support.

The statistics around dementia are shocking. It is now one of the leading causes of death and disability internationally, with an annual economic cost of more than US $1 trillion. Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia – we don’t have a second to lose when it comes to getting it right for all people living with dementia and their families.'

- Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Care

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