In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that Boots, Lloyds Bank and First Group have become the first major companies to commit to helping dementia sufferers as part of prime minister David Cameron’s ‘fight back’ against the disease, including a significant hike in research funding, designed to find a cure within twelve years.
Apparently, George Fairweather, group financial director, has said that Alliance Boots pharmacists are in a perfect position to identify dementia-sufferers earlier than is currently the case.
Sir Win Bischoff (chairman of Lloyds) wants to train all his staff to recognise signs of dementia in his customers, so that the bank becomes a ‘dementia-friendly financial service’.
All 16,000 bus drivers at First Group will be trained to spot people with dementia by the end of 2014.
Other companies such as Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s have also declared that they will work towards the government’s target of signing up a million people as ‘dementia friends’ within the next eighteen months.
Frankly, from a personal perspective, these developments are slightly worrying.
The prospect that, at some point in the future, as I am trying to go about my daily business, I shall be approached in the street, or on a bus, by a succession of well-meaning do-gooders is decidedly unwelcome.
For as start, they’ll undoubtedly disturb my concentration as I try to remember where exactly I am – and indeed why I went out in the first place.