ENGLAND’S top dementia doctor has highlighted a new scheme in Bolton as he encouraged older people to get involved in activities like walking football.

Professor Alistair Burns hailed 'innovative' community schemes for people with dementia run by Premier and Football League including Everton and Aston Villa.

He also praised new 'Extra Time Hubs' including in Bolton and Wigan where people in their retirement years to meet weekly.

Prof Burns, the national clinical director for dementia and older people’s mental health or NHS England said:: “There are simple lifestyle changes people can make to reduce their risk of getting dementia. Eating a healthy diet and exercising – even gentle workouts like walking football– drinking less, not smoking, keeping up your social networks and ensuring your mind stays active can all help.

“Dementia can lead to social isolation with people feeling disconnected from their communities and families after a diagnosis which is why community schemes like these are so vital in helping people maintain these connections and live rich, active lives.

“As the NHS Long Term Plan ramps up moves to give people a timely diagnosis for dementia and improve care, football clubs – as the centre of communities and many people’s lives – have an open goal chance to team up with the NHS and improve lives.”

He also highlighted the English Football League Trust's creation of 'Extra Time Hubs' including in Bolton and Wigan for people in their retirement years to meet on a weekly basis to socialise and to do the things they enjoy.

Adrian Bradley, Head of Health and Wellbeing at the EFL, said: “We recognise that many football supporters will be diagnosed with or affected by dementia.

"We understand that everyone’s experience of dementia is unique and hence our clubs and charities are helping people to attend matches, are running activity groups, dementia cafes, support groups and reminiscence sessions.

"Our challenge is to help people live and enjoy their pre-diagnosis lifestyle for longer.”