Awareness is fine, but now it’s time for action

Published: 04/01/2019

Quite a lot, we would argue, if you want your message to have real impact. That’s why we have decided to change the name of the most important week on Alzheimer’s Society’s calendar.

                                                                                                        Written by: Ken Oxley  
                                                                                                    Alzheimer's Society  
                                                                                                     North East & Cumbria

‘What’s in a name?’ Juliet asked in William Shakespeare’s famous romantic tragedy.

Quite a lot, we would argue, if you want your message to have real impact. That’s why we have decided to change the name of the most important week on Alzheimer’s Society’s calendar.

What was Dementia Awareness Week is to become Dementia Action Week. On the face of it, that might seem a rather small change…but it comes with a very big ambition.

We want to see people taking actions that will make a real difference to the everyday lives of people with dementia.


That means encouraging people to engage in the dementia movement and to be much more proactive.
Last year more than 90,000 took part in Memory Walks across the country, and we surpassed two million Dementia Friends.

Many supporters took part in all manner of daring, daunting and downright demanding fundraising activities.
Others gave up their free time to volunteer in a variety of roles – from engaging directly with people affected by dementia through our Side by Side service to helping create dementia-friendly communities.

We need more of the same. More people taking positive actions to effect real change.

There are 850,000 people living with dementia – a figure that’s set to rise to one million by 2021. It’s the UK’s biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes.

Given these horrific statistics, is it any wonder most of us now know at least one person affected by dementia?
So we are already aware of it. And whilst awareness is important, it’s not enough. We need action. We need people to take collective responsibility and to drive forward change.

We have to create communities where people living with dementia feel welcome, safe and valued. We have to continue raising vital funds to support treatment and research.

And we have to shout so loudly that governments simply can’t turn a deaf ear to a health and social care crisis on the brink of collapse.

Dementia Action Week takes place from 21 to 27 May. Please unite with us against dementia and help us to bring about change. You can find out more by visiting our website and searching for ‘Dementia Action Week’. Or click here.

Ken Oxley is Media Officer for the Alzheimer’s Society in the North East and Cumbria.   

Notes to editors:
  • Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Dementia devastates lives. Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. By 2021, 1 million people will be living with the condition. This will soar to two million by 2051.
  • Dementia deaths are rising year on year and 225,000 will develop dementia this year - that’s one every three minutes.
  • Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia. 
  • Alzheimer’s Society funds research into the cause, care, cure and prevention of all types of dementia and has committed to spend at least £150 million on research over the next decade. This includes a £50 million investment in the UK's first dedicated Dementia Research Institute.
  • Until the day we find a cure, Alzheimer's Society will be here for anyone affected by dementia - wherever they are, whatever they're going through. Everything we do is informed and inspired by them.
  • Let's take on dementia together. Volunteer. Donate. Campaign for change. Whatever you do, unite with us against dementia. 
  • Alzheimer’s Society relies on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0330 333 0804 or visiting  
  • Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit  
  • Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Alzheimerssoc
  • Like us on Facebook
  • Alzheimer’s Society YouTube channel