There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, two thirds of which are living and being supported within the community. Now in its second year, National Dementia Carers’ Day (NDCD) was introduced to recognise, share and celebrate the amazing job carried out by family and informal carers.
Created by SweetTree Home Care Services, Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK, high profile supporters of the initiative include Prime Minister David Cameron, Baroness Greengross OBE and Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England.
The accounts of people caring for a loved one with dementia are to be shared on a dedicated website www.nationaldementiacarersday.org.uk. Giving a unique insight into what it is like to be an informal carer, the stories will include challenges that have been faced, how they were overcome and how people are helping their loved ones to live well with the condition.
Other carers are invited to join in by submitting details of their own experiences. Members of the public are also encouraged to show their support for a dementia carer they know as part of the national day.
Throughout the year all the tips and ideas for helping someone live well with the condition will be shared on the NDCD website, providing an information hub to help to unite and inform the UK’s informal carers.
Hilda Hayo, chief executive of Dementia UK, commented: “In the UK two thirds of people living with dementia are living within the community, which means thousands of families and friends are supporting someone close to them to live as well as possible with the effects of dementia.
“The progressive nature of dementia means it can be a time of uncertainty and stress for family members, and can involve dramatic changes in the way a family functions. It can also lead to isolation as the social network of the family starts to reduce. By coming together to share experiences and ideas we hope to show families that they are not alone and to highlight those areas where extra support is urgently needed. This falls strongly in line with Government moves to ensure that family carers receive the emotional and psychological support they need.”
Jeremy Hughes, Alzheimer’s Society chief executive, said: “Alzheimer’s Society is proud to support National Dementia Carers’ Day. This is a great initiative that recognises the important role of informal carers and family caring for people with dementia at home.
“With around 670,000 carers of people with dementia in the UK, who between them save the UK economy £11.6 billion a year through the care they provide, it is important to recognise this vital contribution. Without informal carers providing the care that they do, the health and care system could not function.
“This day will help to raise awareness of carers for people with dementia and celebrate the massive contribution they make in supporting their loved ones.”
Nicki Bones, operations director at SweetTree Home Care Services, said: “National Dementia Carers’ Day is working hard to highlight the efforts of the thousands of family carers who are so often forgotten.
“Bringing people together and raising awareness for dementia is vital if we are to build stronger, dementia-friendly communities where individuals and families feel supported and that they are not alone.“
In February 2015 the government unveiled its latest move to tackle dementia with the launch of the Dementia 2020 challenge. It aims to make England the “best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases”. The challenge also wants carers of people with dementia to be made aware of and offered the opportunity for respite, education, training, emotional and psychological support so that they feel able to cope with their caring responsibilities and to have a life alongside caring.
For more information and to get involved with National Dementia Carers’ Day please visit www.nationaldementiacarersday.org.uk