The World Health Organisation estimates there are currently 35.6 million people living with dementia, a number which will double by 2030 and triple by 2050 (WHO, 2012). Dementia has already had a significant impact on society, and this will only increase.

Dementia remains a priority and in 2020 Smart Health Solutions was commissioned to support the public health departments of 2 London boroughs to design and deliver an employee survey exploring awareness of dementia.


The pandemic has naturally had an impact on the number of people diagnosed with dementia, with elderly people seeing fewer people to protect themselves from Covid-19.

(NHS England)

Awareness (1, 2, 3), knowledge (4), and stigma are commonly cited barriers to dementia prevention, treatment, and care in the global health context (1, 5, 6).


To develop and circulate a localised Dementia Awareness Measure (DAM) to measure knowledge among the workforce of dementia prevention strategies, risk factors, early warning signs and symptoms and where to go for advice and support.


A rigorous survey was piloted and the local DAM was open from 20th October 2021 to 10th November 2021.

42  questions in the survey:

12  about dementia awareness(7)

4    for health confidence scoring (8)

25  collecting demographics

1     free text question at the end 


Key Findings

  • 89.4% of respondents knew that dementia is NOT a normal part of ageing.
  • Responders were much more likely to recognise memory and speech than physical-related characteristics and behaviours.
  • Characteristics least likely to be identified were: stroke-like symptoms (64%); becoming obsessive (45%) and visual hallucinations (35%) as potential signs of dementia
  • White and Asian ethnic groups – Women identified more risk factors than men.
  • Black ethnic groups – Men identified more risk factors than women.
  • Low education, hearing loss, ethnicity and being female were least likely to be identified as risk factors for dementia.



Develop strategies, communications, awareness-raising and training to:

  1. Address and improve the lack of knowledge that ethnicity and being female are risk factors for dementia (these are significant risk factors)
  2. Improve understanding of dementia risk in Black women
  3. Improve awareness of low education, and hearing loss as risk factors for dementia
  4. Improve knowledge of the physical symptoms of dementia, particularly the stroke-like symptoms, becoming obsessive or having visual hallucinations as potential signs of dementia
  5. Target Asian and White women to not delay seeking help for diagnosis
  6. Target men over 65 years to not delay seeking help for diagnosis


Following the DAM, the boroughs have jointly commissioned bespoke dementia awareness training through Smart Health Solutions, with face to face events, online webinars and videos.

  1. Nitrini R, Barbosa MT, Dozzi Brucki SM, Yassuda MS, Caramelli P. Current trends and challenges on dementia management and research in Latin America. J Glob Health. (2020) 10. doi: 10.7189/jogh.10.010362 
  2. Alladi S, Hachinski V. World dementia: one approach does not fit all. Neurology. (2018) 91:264–70. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000005941 
  3. Cations M, Radisic G, Crotty M, Laver KE. What does the general public understand about prevention and treatment of dementia? A systematic review of population-based surveys. PLoS ONE. (2018) 13:e0196085. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196085 
  4. Cahill S, Pierce M, Werner P, Darley A, Bobersky A, A. systematic review of the public’s knowledge and understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Alzheimer Dis Assoc Diso. (2015) 29:255–75. doi: 10.1097/WAD.0000000000000102
  5. Amado DK, Brucki SMD. Knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease in the Brazilian population. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. (2018) 76:775–82. doi: 10.1590/0004-282×20180106
  6. Lawlor B. The local and global imperative to raise public awareness and knowledge about dementia. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. (2018) 76:729–30. doi: 10.1590/0004-282×20180118
  7. Based on Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM)
  8. Health confidence is closely related to concepts such as empowerment, perceived self-efficacy, activation, engagement and health literacy. In addition, it is influenced by the case mix. People with better health tend to report higher confidence.