As the UK’s leading dementia research charity, one of the biggest challenges we face is raising awareness and understanding of dementia. Too often people wrongfully believe dementia is an inevitable part of ageing and that there is nothing they can do to reduce their risk.
But that’s not the case, which is why Alzheimer’s Research UK has joined forces with Public Health England and Alzheimer’s Society to dispel these myths and ensure that dementia is part of the conversation when over-65s go for their NHS Health Check in England.
Together, we have developed new training resources – including an informative slide deck and videos – to help health practitioners better deliver the message: ‘what’s good for your heart, is good for your brain’.
This comes after we discovered that practitioners did not feel fully equipped with the right knowledge or skills to discuss dementia effectively during the health check, which resulted in people failing to recall the information they had been given about the condition – despite wanting to know more.
Addressing the feedback, we designed the materials to help practitioners speak more easily to NHS Health Check visitors about dementia, by showing them how to fit the information in with wider conversations about lifestyle, health and cardiovascular health.
When attending their NHS Health Check, over-65s will also be given key actions to reduce their risk of dementia, such as:
- regular exercise
- not smoking
- healthy balanced diet
- maintaining a healthy weight
- not drinking too much
- keeping socially and mentally active.
Following a successful pilot, we are excited to have launched the new training resources at the NHS Health Check Conference and hope these will result in an improved understanding of dementia and risk reduction. By helping more people lower their risk of dementia, we aim to reduce the number of people developing the condition in the future – just imagine what a difference that could make to people’s lives.
For more information about the NHS Health Check, please visit http://www.healthcheck.nhs.uk/commissioners_and_providers/training/dementia_training/
To learn more about how to reduce your risk, please visit http://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/about-dementia/helpful-information/reducing-the-risk/