New Alzheimer's Society Poll Finds That 31% of People Would Not Know How To Get Support Following a Diagnosis of Dementia

A YouGov survey published on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 to mark Dementia Awareness Week found that, after a diagnosis, 14% of people would want support but would have no one to turn to, 74% of people would be frightened, 55% would feel depressed and 35% angry. Over one in four (26%) would feel lonely and one in 10 (10%) would feel ashamed. More than four out of five (82%) people would turn to a professional for support.

This Dementia Awareness Week the Alzheimer's Society is encouraging people to 'remember the person' by looking beyond someone's diagnosis of dementia and engaging with them.

Ruth Sutherland, Acting Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Society, says:-

"It is terrible that so many people would not how to get information and support following a diagnosis of dementia. A million people will develop the condition in the next ten years. We need better awareness and information so that a diagnosis of dementia is not such a frightening experience."

37% of all respondents think people with dementia lose their personality. However, evidence suggests that people with dementia can still have likes and dislikes, just the same as everyone else but it is often their dementia which prevents them from expressing themselves the way they used to.

68 year old John Wright, a former entertainer from London, has dementia and says:-

'Since being diagnosed I have found a new lease of life, playing an active role in the running of the estate where I live. And once a week I run a pensioner's afternoon, with bingo, karaoke and dancing. So I have a microphone in my hand again and look forward to it every single Friday. I am still the person I always was and want people to know that."

More than seven out of 10 (73%) people say they would turn to family or friends for support if they were diagnosed with dementia. Yet the charity hears countless stories of people with dementia losing friends following a diagnosis. Research by the Department of Health earlier this year found many people fear and misunderstand dementia causing them to avoid people with the condition or treat them differently.

Ruth Sutherland continues:-

"Having dementia can be an isolating experience for all involved but there are little things you can do to support a family living with dementia. From popping round for a cup of tea and a chat or helping out around the house, there are many ways you can show you care this Dementia Awareness Week. Friends and family have a strong role to play in helping people with dementia. We must tackle the stigma surrounding the condition if we are to ensure people with dementia are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2029 adults, of which 2027 have not been diagnosed with dementia. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28 May and 1 June 2010. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).