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  1. ITV Report

How much do you know about dementia?

The Alzheimer's Society campaign is called 'Dementia Friends.' Photo: Alzheimer's Society

One in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia - but a new survey shows that less than half of people in Wales have a good understanding of the condition.

Now the charity Alzheimer's Society is launching a scheme in Wales to encourage people to become 'Dementia Friends' in a bid to raise awareness.

The programme aims to help change the way people think, talk and act about dementia.

A YouGov survey commissioned by Alzheimer's Society found that less than half (46%) of people in Wales feel they have a good understanding of dementia.

Dementia - what is it?

  • The word 'dementia' describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss, and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language
  • It is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, or a series of strokes
  • There are 100 different types of dementia, with Alzheimer's the most common
  • All types of dementia are progressive - meaning that the structure and chemistry of the brain are increasingly damaged over time - and the person's ability to remember, understand, communicate and reason gradually decline
  • How quickly dementia progresses depends on the individual - everyone experiences it differently

Dementia - the stats:

  • Over 45,500 people are estimated to be living with dementia in Wales
  • One in three people over 65 will develop dementia
  • 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia - more than half have Alzheimer's disease
  • In less than ten years, it is predicted that a million people in the UK will have dementia
  • By 2051, it is predicted that 1.7 million people in the UK will have dementia
Welsh actress Ruth Jones is fronting the campaign - her mother-in-law Margaret had dementia.

What is the 'Dementia Friends' programme?

Alzheimer's Society wants 'Dementia Friends' to learn a little bit more about what it is like to live with dementia - and then turn that understanding into action.

That could mean anything from helping someone find the right bus - to spreading the word about dementia on social media.

As the brain gradually shuts down, people with dementia sometimes need a helping hand to go about their daily lives and feel included in their local community.

This is what Dementia Friends aims to provide.

With so few people feeling they know enough about dementia, we are really excited to be able to invite everyone up and down the country to register their interest in becoming a Dementia Friend.

The Dementia Friends programme isn't about creating experts, it's about helping people understand a little bit more about what it's like to live with the condition and then turn that understanding into action - anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend.

Sign up to be a Dementia Friend or a Dementia Friend Champion and you can help us to transform Wales by changing public attitudes and making life better for people with dementia.

– Sue Phelps, Director of Alzheimer's Society in Wales

For more help and information:

Alzheimer's Society has a National Dementia Helpline - the number is 0300 222 11 22