Happy old peopleThe government has launched a new Dementia Atlas, which is an interactive map of England that allows people to make comparisons about the quality of dementia care in their area, on issues such as prevention, diagnosis and support.

This comes at the same time that actress Carey Mulligan has today been appointed by the Alzheimer’s Society and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as the first ever UK Global Dementia Friends Ambassador.

In her new role, Carey will bring both international attention to the benefits of making communities dementia friendly, and a renewed focus on the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme in England.

Key aims are to tackle the stigma around dementia that results in people feeling excluded from their communities and improve the lives of those with the condition and their families.

Since 2013, over 1.6 million people have signed up to become a Dementia Friend, and there are now more than 150 dementia friendly communities in England alone. The Alzheimer’s Society hopes to achieve 4 million Dementia Friends by 2020. The main aims of the programme are to tackle the stigma around dementia that results in people feeling excluded from their communities and improve the lives of those with the condition and their families.

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, said: 'We have made great strides in improving diagnosis rates, investing in research and creating the first dementia friendly communities, but we still have much further to go to promise everyone that they will be able to live well with the condition. The impact of dementia tears at families and at our social fabric -  that’s why making progress is a key government priority. Carey Mulligan will be a great asset both in raising awareness and promoting the benefits of the Dementia Friends programme – at home and globally.'

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, added: 'Dementia doesn’t stop at UK borders – it’s the biggest health crisis facing the world today. One of the biggest challenges in creating Dementia Friendly Communities is getting people to talk about dementia. Dementia Friends has proved to be a great springboard to inspire global dementia action. We are delighted that Alzheimer’s Society supporter Carey Mulligan will be leading the way in her role as UK Global Dementia Friends Ambassador. 

'As the global dementia crisis snowballs, collaboration between countries is crucial in creating lasting change and a global dementia movement towards acceptance, inclusion and support for people living with dementia and their carers. We look forward to Carey’s leadership helping us tackle stigma on an international scale and achieve better lives for people with dementia the world over.'

Also launched are the new NHS Health Check Dementia Pilots. Public Health England is working with Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society to extend the dementia risk reduction component of the NHS Health Check to all 40-64-year-olds at sites in Birmingham, Bury, Manchester City and Southampton City. This will see over 250 GP practices raising awareness about dementia risk reduction among people in midlife as part of the health check for the first time.