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Anthea Innes on BBC Radio Solent

29 October 2012

Professor Anthea Innes, director of the Bournemouth University Dementia Institute (BUDI) was interviewed live on BBC Radio Solent responding to news that the government was to invest £50 million in creating dementia friendly environments.

Anthea welcomed the proposal, but said that the £50 million promised by new Health secretary Jeremy Hunt was "just a drop in the ocean", on the BBC Radio Solent drivetime show with Steve Harris.

She said: "Currently, dementia costs the UK economy £23 billion, so £50 million obviously isn’t a huge amount, but the fact that it is being targeted at dementia–friendly environments is, I think, a really positive thing – because there are so many small things we can do to make people with dementia’s lives much easier and less confusing."

She added that small changes like making it easier for a dementia patient to find their way around a hospital or care home "made a big difference" and could easily be implemented.

"There’s small things you can do as part of refurbishing a hospital anyway that will help people with dementia and anyone else find their way around the hospital – for example, not having signs way above people’s heads and actually having them at eye–level, having colour–coding and various visual clues to help people find their way around.

"That’s not very difficult to implement when you are redoing signage anyway – it’s just making sure you try and think about making environments as accessible as possible for everyone."

Anthea said that dementia had previously been seen as a bit of a "Cinderella subject" and had gone under the radar, because of stigma attached.

She added that dementia costs more to the economy than cancer, heart disease and stroke put together, but had a much less funding – although there had been huge changes over the last couple of years.

"There’s been a huge amount of policy attention and policy drivers and subsequent resource being attached to dementia, so actually dementia is in the best state it’s been in in forever, because of the amount of resource and attention. People want to tackle this problem."

But, she said, dementia is still one of the "biggest challenges" to society in the future, "given the growing numbers of people with dementia and the lack of care and resource that is currently available to support people with dementia and their families."

You can listen to Anthea on BBC Radio Solent for the next seven days at:

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