Building a dementia inclusive society with Bupa UK

Building a dementia inclusive society with Bupa UK

The number of people living with dementia is set to double in the next 35 years, so building a society that effectively understands and includes those living with the condition should be a huge priority for the UK. 

Awareness is key. It can be difficult to know how to help loved ones who are living with dementia, but taking steps to improve our own understanding of the condition could work wonders.

This is something that Bupa UK recently discussed at length in an enlightening webinar with their Global Director of Dementia Care, Professor Graham Stokes, and the Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre, Professor June Andrews. The hour-long webinar was split into three parts, and several issues relating to the topic of dementia were covered, including the importance of increased understanding in the workplace and how technology can play a role in helping those with dementia (and the ethical implications involved in this). All of the discussions came back to one key question: how we can make the UK a more dementia friendly society? Watch the webinar now to make your own conclusions, then read on for our round-up of the key findings. 

Key findings

Something palpable from start to finish in the webinar was the desire for positive change. People make a lot of assumptions when it comes to dementia, and this can be detrimental to understanding it properly.

Here are some of the most surprising and interesting findings from the webinar:

• Looking ahead to 2030, the number of people living with dementia is estimated to increase to 76 million

• The odds of getting dementia are 1 in 100 for those in their 60s, while it’s just 1 in 20 for those in their 70s

• The focus in the UK is on building a dementia friendly society, but we need to consider the difference between ‘dementia friendly’, and ‘dementia inclusive’. Professor Stokes explained, “When I hear the term ‘dementia friendly’, and the need for training and education to deliver that, I don’t think anybody needs to be trained to be friendly. That’s part of the human condition. I’m far more in favour of using the term ‘dementia inclusive’.”

• Educating the coming generations while they’re still young is key to eradicating stigma and prejudices around dementia

• Dementia informed workplaces are crucial as the number of people with working age dementia increases. Professor Andrews explained, “Know and understand as much about dementia as you possibly can, and understand that everyone with dementia is different. So even though you may know a lot about dementia, the way it’s affecting [one person] might be quite unique.”

• The primary concerns of carers of those living with dementia are anxiety, agitation and sleeplessness, not memory loss, as is widely believed

• Assistive technology can help, but there are a number of ethical issues that need to be addressed. As Professor Stokes observed, “What I would never want to hear is that we are using technology to replace human relationships. Technology is going to be a means to improve the life of those living with dementia. Human relationships help people with dementia live better. It’s just another tool.”

If you’d like to discover a more detailed summary of the webinar, visit the Bupa UK newsroom. Join the discussion on Twitter and Facebook too with the #BupaDementiaVision hashtag.

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