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Wiltshire Dementia Strategy 2023 to 2028

Co-production

Co-production has been central to the development of this Wiltshire Dementia Strategy and the voice of people with dementia and their carers has remained at the heart of everything we do.  It is crucial that we continue to listen to people with dementia and the wider community to understand people's priorities and to educate and raise awareness. 

People with dementia and carers value understanding and help from the people around them.  However, what we have heard from people in Wiltshire often mirrors attitudes nationally, where there is still misunderstanding and fear around dementia.

Research carried out in 20211 found:

  • public awareness and understanding are increasing. 68% of people correctly believed that dementia is not a natural part of ageing - an increase since 2019.  62% correctly identified dementia as a terminal condition - an increase from 51% in 2019
  • but fears around dementia are also increasing. Nearly half of people surveyed said dementia is the health condition they fear most.  Women and older adults are particularly fearful of dementia
  • attitudes vary amongst different groups. People in lower socio-economic groups are more likely to see dementia as an inevitable part of getting older.  People who identify as Black or Asian are less likely to agree with the statement 'Dementia is a cause of death' compared with those who identify as White
  • people often don't understand what can be done to reduce dementia risk. Despite evidence to the contrary, a third of people think there is nothing they can do to reduce their risk of developing dementia.  Women are less likely to think it's possible to influence their dementia risk than men.  There is particularly low awareness that physical factors like blood pressure and diabetes are linked to dementia risk
  • people want to understand more. Three quarters of people would be willing to use technology, such as apps and wearables, to help understand their dementia risk.  The vast majority of people (89%) would be likely to seek an early diagnosis if they spotted the symptoms of dementia in themselves or a loved one
  • people are optimistic about the future.  61% of people believe a cure for dementia will be found, and 69% are prepared to be involved in medical research to help find a cure

This research points the way for future local engagement and indicates that one size does not fit all - we should take a variety of approaches in speaking to and hearing from local people.

Appendix 4 summarises the wide variety of discussions, forums and surveys with local people and professionals.  These discussions form the core of this strategy, and we thank everybody involved for their support and contributions.

1 Public perceptions of dementia - Dementia attitudes monitor (dementiastatistics.org) (opens new window)

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