Stars join call for volunteers to become 'dementia friends'

Stars from film, music and TV have created an advert to encourage people to become "dementia friends" and boost awareness and volunteering, the Alzheimer's Society has said.

Government: Dementia 'attacks the fabric of society'

Dementia is so severe it "attacks the fabric of our society" and the UK will need everyone to come together to fight it, the Health Secretary has warned.

Jeremy Hunt explained:

Dementia isn't just a health condition - it attacks the fabric of our society and can take a huge toll on the families and friends of those affected by the disease.

I am urging everyone - families, communities and businesses to come together to ensure that people with dementia can continue to live fulfilling and rewarding lives.

– Jeremy Hunt

Advertisement

Dementia costing businesses 'hundreds of millions'

Businesses are losing out on hundreds of millions every year because of employees trying to balance work with the demands of caring for relatives with dementia.

A report from the Centre for Economics and Business also found:

  • Almost one in 10 dementia carers have to withdraw from work altogether and 12% have been forced to reduce the number of hours they spend at work.
  • Experts estimated the total cost of those who leave employment or have to reduce their hours to care for a relative with dementia exceeds £1.6 billion.
  • The report estimated 50,000 carers will have to quit their job due to caring responsibilities this year alone.
  • And a further 66,000 will have to make adjustments to the number of hours they work.

Celebrities join call for 'dementia friends' volunteers

Chris Martin, Lily Allen and Alesha Dixon are among celebrities urging volunteers to become "dementia friends" and help care for those with the degenerative condition.

Volunteers who take part in the scheme will be able to attend free sessions to learn how to spot the signs of dementia and offer support for sufferers, the Alzheimer's Society said.

A woman in a wheelchair.
Experts estimate the total cost of those who leave employment or have to reduce their hours to care for a relative exceeds £1.6bn Credit: PA

In a new ad which will be aired for the first time tonight, the pop stars will be seen performing The Beatles' track I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.

Other celebrities involved in the ad include comedian Simon Pegg, actor Ray Winstone, footballer Leighton Baines and presenter Paul O'Grady.

Read: Scientists hail breakthrough in 'Alzheimer's blood test'