Last week I joined Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – Jeremy Wright and the Sports and Tourism ministers in a training session with the Alzheimer’s Society to learn about social attitudes towards dementia. The event was part of Alzeimer’s Society’s wider “Dementia Friends” drive that looks to encourage a more sympathetic attitude towards dementia sufferers by working with public figures and bodies to promote a more positive message about the disease. The cabinet has participated in this drive following a request from the Prime Minister herself. The charity sector falls under the remit of DCMS so a discussion with Mr Wright, Ms Davies and Mr Huddleston (who acts as theses Ministers’ Parliamentary Private Secretary) formed an important part of this work.
It is always a pleasure to meet the Alzheimer’s Society and hear about the passion and dedication with which they work to help dementia patients and their families in the UK. They play a vital role in destigmatising attitudes towards a disease that people often try not to think about and ignore. Dementia is a horrible degenerative condition but patients deserve our compassion and care – we must not turn a blind eye.
That is why I am so encouraged by the “Dementia Friends” initiative and the growing power of the message that we must be a dementia-friendly nation and would encourage other groups and organisations to take part.