Tesco sets target to raise £5m for Alzheimer’s charities

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Tesco has named the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer Scotland as its charity of the year and pledged to raise £5m to build a better future for people with dementia and increase diagnosis levels from 40% by 2014.

Tesco has been working with the two Alzheimer charities to map the state of dementia. Its ‘Mapping the Dementia Gap’ study has found over half a million people in 2021 will be living with dementia that has gone undiagnosed.

A formal diagnosis is vital for people with dementia and without it they can’t access drugs or advice on how to live more effectively with the condition, says the retailer. But many people delay seeking help because of low awareness of symptoms and treatments or fear they will lose their independence.

The Tesco Charity of the Year partnership, launched today (1 March) will fund new research, support professionals to help those living with the condition, and a community roadshow; which will raise awareness of dementia and encourage people worried about their memory to visit their GPs.

Available in an interactive map at www.alzheimers-tesco.org.uk, the research shows diagnosis rates vary hugely around the UK:

  • Over a million people are predicted to have dementia in 2021
  • Dorset has the lowest rates of diagnosis with only a quarter (26%) of people really knowing they have dementia. Two thirds (69%) of people living in Belfast with dementia have had a diagnosis
  • In 2021, the study predicts if the current rates of diagnosis don’t change, Milton Keynes will have the biggest gap between people predicted to be living with dementia (3,116) and those who will receive a diagnosis (only 38%). In contrast, Belfast is still predicted to have the smallest diagnosis gap
  • Milton Keynes is the fastest growing area and can expect a 56% increase in people living with the condition. Barking & Dagenham is the slowest growing area with slightly fewer people predicted to be living with dementia in 10 years time than now.

Fiona Phillips, Alzheimer’s Society ambassador and journalist, said: “It’s shocking so many people are struggling to cope with this devastating illness all on their own. If we don’t raise awareness of dementia, in 10 years’ time, half a million people will be unable to give their symptoms a name and have no access to the help they so desperately need and deserve.”

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive, Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It’s really concerning that six out of 10 people with dementia don’t have a diagnosis and so can’t access the support they badly need. The money raised through the Tesco partnership will help us ensure people with dementia don’t face it alone. Anyone who is concerned about their memory should visit their GP. If you’d like our roadshow to visit a Tesco near you, visit us at www.alzheimers-tesco.org.uk and let us know.”

David Reid, chairman, Tesco, said: “There are 750,000 people living with dementia. This means almost half of our staff and customers have a loved one or friend with dementia, so we are proud to have the opportunity to work with the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Scotland to make a real and lasting difference to their lives, from diagnosis through to treatment.”