Dementia Awareness

Dementia Friendly Logo

Did you know…

Dementia is a condition which has no barriers, it affects men (1/3 of cases) and women (2/3 of cases) and people of all backgrounds.

What some people may also not realise is that while it mainly affects older people, it can also affect younger people - around 1 in 20 people (more than 42,000) with dementia are under 65.

1 in 14 people aged over 65 are living with the condition. This rises to 1 in 6 for people over 80. Currently 900,000 people nationally have dementia, but by 2025 that number will rise to over 1 million, and with people living longer by 2040 that number is projected to hit 1.6 million. 

Dementia is not a disease in its own right and it is not a natural part of ageing. It is an umbrella term that describes a group of symptoms that are caused by many diseases that affect the brain and negatively impact memory. 

Alzheimer's, for example, is a specific progressive disease of the brain that slowly causes impairment in memory and cognitive function. 

There are over 100 types of dementia which affect people in different ways, depending upon which area of the brain is damaged, the person's personality, their background, their physical health and the local environment. Each person with dementia is unique and will experience dementia in their own way. 

Dementia is a progressive illness for which there is currently no cure; unlike damaged skin, brain cells cannot re-grow. Nevertheless, a great deal of medical research is going into causes and cures. 

West Yorkshire Police are committed to being a Dementia Friendly organisation and ensuring that people living with dementia who come into contact with the police are supported and have their specific needs taken into consideration.  

As part of that commitment, Dementia Friends have been identified within districts and departments in addition to training and advice to frontline officers and staff.  


The Herbert Protocol

The Force has signed up to the Herbert Protocol to enable family and friends to put systems in place to allow for early intervention when loved ones go missing. 

The Herbert Protocol is an initiative for missing people living with dementia. It is intended to speed up and simplify the response of the Police and other agencies when an individual is reported missing, ensuring that the right information is readily available so that the search can be targeted appropriately. 

Individuals/family members/carers can sign up to the Herbert Protocol for people living with dementia who are at risk of going missing. They complete and retain a form recording all vital details such as medication required, mobile numbers, places previously located, a photograph etc. The form is retained in a safe place with family, friends and neighbours then if / when the person goes missing, the protocol can be mentioned to the Police call taker and/or handed to the attending police officer.  

West Yorkshire Police is currently trialling the use of a digital version of the Herbert Protocol via Safe and Found Online.  Instead of completing a paper form, you would create a secure profile via this website which can be accessed by West Yorkshire Police only if you make a missing report.  


Alzheimer's at 39: Chris' story

Chris was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2010 – a disease which claimed the lives of his dad, aunt, cousin and granddad in their forties. His 43-year-old brother is also living with this rare, inherited form of Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home.


Page last reviewed August 2023