People with dementia 'treated like second-class citizens', says campaigner

  • ITV News' Seb Choudhury speaks to Tony Hall about his work to raise awareness of dementia.

People with dementia are treated like 'second class citizens' according to a Bristol campaigner who cared for his wife for 20 years.

Tony Hall, who heads up Bristol Dementia Action Alliance, wants to make Bristol a dementia-friendly city.

"People with dementia are treated like second class citizens, they're embarrassed if they've got dementia, they're stigmatised, they're lonely and it's got to stop", He told ITV News West Country.

"We go around and we run dementia awareness sessions, workshops and we tell people what dementia is, how to identify the symptoms and how they can support and manage the person that's got dementia.

Tony Hall wants Bristol to become a 'dementia friendly' city. Credit: ITV News

"We need to bring dementia out into the open just like we brought cancer out into the open."

Nearly a million people in the UK are currently living with dementia and the numbers are rising.

According to Alzheimer's Research UK, it's estimated that one in two people will be affected by the condition either through having it or caring for a loved one.

He said: "I want to create an environment, Bristol city if you like, where people with dementia can go into a shop, or they can go into a school, or they can go into a club and they can be accepted for who they are. That's what I want."

Tony cared for his wife Barbara for more than 20 years as she struggled with dementia.

The first signs came with simple episodes of forgetfulness, but as the condition progressed, Barbara had to give up her job as a nursery nurse.

"One thing we decided right at the beginning, is we'll fight this every inch of the path. We'd fight it all the way and we did."

"She became mute, she became a wheelchair user, she stopped eating or certainly had problems eating and so I used to make her food so that she could easily digest it."

Barbara passed away in 2022, but Tony wants to use her legacy to drive his work to help others.

Support and advice for those living with dementia or caring for those with the condition can be found here:

Bristol Dementia Action Alliance working towards enabling communities to become more dementia aware.

Alzheimer’s Society offers personalised information, support and advice. You can called them on 0333 150 3456.

Dementia UK offers advice and support to families who are living with dementia.

Alzheimer's Research UK carries out dementia research but also answers questions about dementia and dementia research. The charity's helpline is 0300 111 5 111 and can provide help and guidance.

Age UK has advice on a range of topics. It runs a free national helpline on 0800 055 6112.

The Carers Trust provides information and advice on its website for carers.

Carers UK is a national charity for carers, providing information and advice from benefits to practical support.