AN ADVERT by the Alzheimer’s Society has concerned Wiltshire Councillor and carer Bill Douglas so much that he has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Mr Douglas, from Chippenham, cares for his wife Alice, 86, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about six years ago. He says the advert, called Denise’s Story, which has been broadcast on television, implies that Alzheimer’s has a genetic component and runs in families.He says it has already frightened his daughter.

"My daughter phoned me to say she’d got worried, she was scared she was going to get dementia,” her said.

The advert shows Denise caring for her father with Alzheimer’s and worrying her daughter might one day have the condition. She says: “It’s obviously affecting my dad and it could affect my daughter in the future. It’s heart breaking.”

She adds: “I can’t accept that that’s going to be a reality for my daughter. I want her to have a future that’s dementia free.”

Mr Douglas said he had contacted the Hathaway Surgery and had asked that the Patient Participation Group reassure patients and carers that no genetic link has been proven.

He said: “I am not attacking the Alzheimer’s Society. They do great work. But I would like them to take the advert off the air, or have it altered.”

Ellen Hingley, head of legacies at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We are sorry to hear that our fundraising advert has caused concern for one of your readers about whether dementia is hereditary. It was absolutely not our intention to cause any distress.

“The majority of dementias are not passed down through the family. However, in rarer types of dementia there may be a strong genetic link, but these are only a tiny proportion of overall cases of dementia.

“The campaign is based around Denise, whose father is living with dementia, and her family’s situation. Denise is a real person, and the words she speaks are her own, taken from an interview we held with her.

“It is very important to us that we tell the stories of people affected by dementia in their own words, or in a way that accurately reflects their feelings and experience. Denise talks about the impact dementia has had on her life, being a carer for her father, and the fact that she doesn’t want her daughter to face living with dementia in the future which is why she is including us in her will.

“The content of the advert, from concept to final result, has been passed through Clearcas, the stringent official body who checks against all advertising against false claims and inferences, and this issue was not raised by them."

“As a charity, Alzheimer’s Society relies on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. By sharing Denise’s story we hope to raise awareness that people could choose to leave a gift to us in their Will to help us continue to provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.”