Leading companies join fight against dementia

Leading companies join fight against dementia

Bank staff and bus drivers are amongst thousands of people being given training to spot the early signs of dementia in customers.

As part of the government's national "fightback" against the cognitive condition, managers at Lloyds bank, First Group and high street pharmacist Boots have agreed to train their staff to recognise its devastating effects.

In the same week that London played host to a G8 summit on dementia, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said that "every section of society must step up" to take on the illness.

Currently, there are an estimated 820,000 people living with some form of dementia in the UK, but that number is expected to rise above one million by 2021.

"Britain's biggest companies will build up a front-line force of thousands of people able to spot the signs of dementia and understand the needs of sufferers, helping people with the disease to live a normal life for longer," Mr Hunt explained to the Daily Telegraph.

He added that it is "fantastic" to see businesses committing to training staff on ways they can spot dementia patients and give them adequate support.

Giles Fearnley, managing director of First Group, said that all 16,000 of its bus drivers will go through a training scheme before the end of the year, while Sir Win Bischoff, chairman of Lloyds, stated that he wants his firm to become the UK's firm "dementia-friendly financial service".

George Fairweather, the Alliance Boots group finance director, believes the pharmacy has the potential to identify people with dementia before they even visit a doctor.

Supermarket giants Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's have also stated that they will be helping many of their employees become "dementia friends" over the course of the next 18 months.

At this week's GB summit, prime minister David Cameron pledged to double funding for dementia research to £132 million a year by 2025.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.