Taking dementia seriously

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
July 07, 2011, 5:53 PM GMT+0

Dementia is the most joked about medical condition, even though fewer than one in ten British people thinks it is acceptable to make fun of it, our poll for the Alzheimer’s Society to mark Dementia Awareness Week 2011, taking place from 3rd-9th July in England and Wales (and which took place on 12th-18th June 2011 in Northern Ireland), has found.

  • 55% believe that dementia is not taken seriously enough in society
  • 24% of people say they hear jokes about dementia the most compared to other conditions including autism (3%) and cancer (3%)
  • 23% of people say that they hear jokes by comedians on the condition
  • 17% of people hear jokes about it from friends and family
  • 33% think that it is acceptable to say someone with dementia is having a ‘senior moment’
  • 22% think that it is acceptable to say someone with dementia is ‘senile’
  • 10% think that it is fine to say someone with the condition has ‘lost their marbles’
  • However, only 8% per cent of people actively agree that it is acceptable to make fun of dementia

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘These are shocking findings. Dementia is a devastating condition which can happen to anyone. We must tackle this lack of understanding if we are to ensure people with dementia are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.’

‘This Dementia Awareness Week, Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging people to "remember the person" by looking beyond someone’s diagnosis of dementia and engaging with them. With the right help and support, people with dementia can have a good quality of life and friends and family have a huge role to play in this.’