Dementia Tightening Its Grip in Australia

NSW-based carers recently brought forth a disturbing and appalling fact that though Dementia is one of the most feared diseases in Australia, people suffering from the disease and the carers receive little or no public support due to the taboo attached with it.

The discussion paper, Addressing the Stigma Associated with Dementia, is scheduled to be released on September 16.

Dementia, according to the experts, is associated with the symptoms that cause a rapid decline in a person’s cognitive ability. Further, the most common type of dementia is the Alzheimer’s disease.

As per the numbers, as many as 257,000 Australians have fallen prey to the disease, and is estimated that by the year 2050, about one million more would be affected.

The research paper highlighted that 61% of the total carers who undertook the poll believed that the general public had no or little understanding of the disease dementia.

Further, dementia was ranked at the second place after cancer by 61% of the poll participants. The perturbing bit was that a major chunk, i. e. 76%, experienced ‘embarrassment or shame’ in public about their association with a person suffering from dementia.

Confirming the findings, Alzheimer’s Australia NSW Chief Executive, John Watkins said, "What we have found is that a lack of understanding of dementia and fear of dementia are the major cause of stigma. The fear ranges from ignorance and fear of the illness itself to fear of how to communicate and interact with a person with dementia".