Many Australians mistakenly think the symptoms of dementia are a normal part of ageing.
Dementia is caused by diseases that damage the brain. It is not a normal part of ageing. And it can happen to anybody.
Glenda, Keith and Graeme are Aussies in their 50s and 60s living with dementia in Australia. Here they share their experiences of living with dementia, the stigma that they’ve experienced as a result of their diagnosis, and their views on the small things people can do to help create a dementia-friendly nation.
SMALL ACTIONS COUNT
Alzheimer’s Australia has a vision to create a dementia-friendly nation, a place where people living with dementia are supported to live a high quality of life with meaning, purpose and value.
To do that, we need to end dementia stigma. A crucial first step is for people to become dementia-aware and understand what it is like to live with dementia.
You can start by watching and sharing this video.
You can also visit the Alzheimer’s Australia website: http://www.dementiafriendly.org.au/
SOME BASIC FACTS ABOUT DEMENTIA
Many Australians know very little about what dementia is or how it develops.
Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease – there are many types of dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease).
Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life.
Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65 years. People in their 40s and 50s can also have dementia. Most people with dementia are older, but it is important to remember that not all older people get dementia. It is not a normal part of ageing.
• There are more than 332,000 Australians living with dementia
• This number is expected to increase by one third to 400,000 in less than ten years
• Each week, there are more than 1,700 new cases of dementia in Australia; approx. one person every 6 minutes. This is expected to grow to 7,400 new cases each week by 2050
• Many people with dementia and their family and carers experience loneliness and social isolation after their diagnosis
• If diagnosed with dementia, 60% of Australians say they would experience feelings of shame
• People living with dementia often struggle to engage in their local communities because of limited community understanding of dementia