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By DSDC Team

November 20th, 2015

Building a Dementia Friendly Society

BUPA recently hosted a webinar about dementia and how the UK can gain a better understanding of the condition. With speakers Professor Graham Stokes (Global Director of Dementia Care at Bupa) and Professor June Andrews (Director of the University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre, giving plenty of useful, thought-provoking insights, the webinar was a great success.

Key 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 start thinking instead of dementia inclusive societies
  • Educating younger/next generations is key to eradicate stigma and prejudices around dementia
  • Dementia informed workplaces are crucial as the number of people with working age dementia increases
  • Primary concerns of carers of those living with dementia are anxiety, agitation and sleeplessness not memory loss 
  • Assistive technology can help, but there are a number of ethical issues that need to be addressed

Speakers Quotes

On what a dementia friendly society is:

‘A dementia friendly society is one where people are aware of it and help their neighbours, but it also has to be one where the people who set themselves up to look after people with dementia really know what they’re doing and give confidence to the people who receive their services.’ - Professor June Andrews

‘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.’ - Professor Graham Stokes

Why a dementia friendly society is important:

‘Anything that can be done in the community to makes their lives easier, or their families’, has to be welcomed.’ - Professor June Andrews

‘We’re on the cusp of an explosion of the numbers of people with dementia. Probably less than 10 years away before we start to see a real acceleration in those numbers.’ - Professor Graham Stokes

‘We need to see society stepping forward to help those living with dementia… I’m quite comfortable with society stepping forward, if that society is supported.’ - Professor Graham Stokes

On working age dementia:

‘Working age dementia is effectively, the cluster of symptoms caused by a variety of diseases in people younger than we would normally expect, with the additional problem of the complex social picture that’s presented and that it’s really hard to get services organised in a way that will help them…. It’s a complex and unique problem, but far fewer people are affected. Which doesn’t make it a smaller problem. It means for those individuals it’s an even bigger problem.’ - Professor June Andrews

‘Five years ago we wouldn’t be talking about the workplace, but now for me, it’s one of the major concerns I have… Having a dementia informed workplace is critical.’ - Professor Graham Stokes

‘Around 40,000 middle-aged people have dementia. But they tend to have a host of conditions that cause dementia that aren’t typical – could be alcohol related dementia, could be frontal dementia, not what we find with elders where Alzheimer’s is the main cause.’ - Professor Graham Stokes

Consumer technology and dementia:

‘The range of assistive technology that is available is vast, and we should all find out as much about it as possible…. but we have to make sure the ethics around it are attended to.’ - Professor June Andrews

‘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.’ - Professor Graham Stokes  

A full run-down of the webinar can be found on BUPA's website


Professor Graham Stokes

Professor Graham Stokes is the Global Director of Dementia Careat Bupa. Thanks to his 20 years’ experience in the subject, he has a breadth of knowledge on everything from choosing a care home to offering advice to those living with the condition. Something he has become known for is advocating the development of a person-centred approach to care.

Professor June Andrews

Professor June Andrews has had a significant impact on healthcare in the UK. She is currently Director of the University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre, and has carried out extensive research on ways that life can be improved for those living with dementia. Her book, Dementia: The One-Stop Guide, gives comprehensive advice to really make a difference.


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