Lynda Bellingham told ITV News of the importance of early diagnosis in dementia care; "this can help enormously in the diagnosis of dementia and how you treat it - and then family, loved ones, relations can prepare for it and can in fact learn to understand it and not be embarrassed."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that the volunteers at the Olympics provided an inspiration for the Dementia Friends initiative.
He said; "we're trying to harness that to tackle this big challenge we have. There's so much we can do [to help those with dementia]"
David Cameron has hailed the new 'Dementia Friends' initiative, telling ITV This Morning that more needs to be done on care for those with dementia as well as diagnosis:
Six months ago, I set up this challenge to say we've got to do better as a country in three vital regards.
First is how do we treat people with dementia in the health service, in care homes? In some cases it's brilliant, in many cases it's not good enough.
What more can we do in society to show understanding for people with dementia and make sure we treat them properly?
Third, but I think almost the most vital, is putting more money into dementia research.
I think there a lot of people out there who think dementia is just part of ageing, part of getting old. It isn't. It's a disease of the brain. We've got about 670,000 people with dementia, but tragically only 40% - less than half - know they've got it.
We are not diagnosing it fast enough, we are not treating it fast enough. But there's a really big cultural change we need to make. We know cancer is a killer that we want to get on top of. We need to think of dementia in the same way. This is a disease that we need to try and tackle with all our brains and brilliant scientists.
A woman whose late father suffered from dementia has said she had to wait for five years before doctors told the family he had the illness.
Catherine Harrison told Daybreak: "If we had known he could have lived a life much more fully prior to his deterioration."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told Daybreak that, "we can do so much to reduce the strain and stress of suffering from dementia if we get the message out."
– Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Too many people with dementia feel cut off, lonely and fearful without the support and understanding they need.
We need to build a society where people can live well with dementia, enjoying the best possible quality of life for as long as possible.
- The term 'dementia' describes several symptoms which include loss of memory, mood changes and problems with communicating.
- Dementia occurs when the brain is damaged by certain diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and damage caused by a series of small strokes.
- Dementia is progressive and the symptoms gradually get worse. The progression depends on the individual person and what type of dementia they have.
- Dementia affects 800,000 people in the UK and it mainly affects people over the age of 65.
- However, it can affect younger people as there are over 17,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 who have dementia.
The Director of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK has commented on the Government's new support plans:
– Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK
At a cost of £23 billion a year to the UK economy, we all agree that dementia is not a problem we can ignore.
Finding treatments for Alzheimer's and other dementias is no easy task, but it's one we must tackle if we are to make a real difference to people's lives.
The Government's new support plans for dementia sufferers could help as many as 800,000 people who are affected by the condition in the UK.
Prime Minister David Cameron also announced that the Government will be giving almost £10 million for dementia research and £50 million to make wards and care homes more comfortable for people with dementia.
He also announced other initiatives to boost early diagnosis and help the public to better understand the condition.
Prime Minister David Cameron has outlined plans for a million members of the public to provide support for dementia sufferers.
In a statement, the Conservative leader said:
We cannot underestimate the challenge we face in dealing with dementia in our country.
There are already nearly 700,000 sufferers in England alone but less than half are diagnosed and general awareness about the condition is shockingly low.
Last March I made clear that I wanted to do something about that and we are now going further and faster to help people and their carers, and to support the research needed to prevent and treat the condition.
Through the Dementia Friends project we will for the first time make sure a million people know how to spot those tell-tale signs and provide support.
There is still a long way to go in fighting the disease but together we can improve the lives of millions.