Dementia Action Week is observed between the 16th – 22nd September (including World Alzheimer’s Day on the 21st September). The theme for Dementia Action Week is ‘Dementia doesn’t discriminate. Do you?’
To begin, let’s explore how discrimination may occur:-
• a person living with dementia might be ignored or dismissed in conversations;
• sometimes people without realising will talk directly to the carer as if the person living with dementia is not even there;
• assumptions might be made about a person’s capacity to contribute to conversations, decision-making, whether they can still drive, cook or even continue to work;
• friends and family might stop calling or inviting a person living with dementia to social occasions – not out of deliberate neglect but possibly out of not knowing how to include them.
Dementia Australia states that every 3 seconds someone in the world develops symptoms of dementia. In Australia, dementia is the leading cause of death for women, surpassing heart disease. Currently in Australia, 27,247 people are living with younger onset dementia.
Over 40% of us feel awkward around people with dementia. Many of us consider being forgetful a part of ageing! Dementia is not a normal part of ageing and we should not be afraid to ask those tricky questions and talk about it.
These statistics are confronting and we, as a community, need to understand dementia is not just a medical problem but also a social problem. For people living with dementia many daily tasks and social and community involvement are often challenging as the brain is changing and no medicine can restore the memory that is gone.
As a community we need to adjust our thinking about dementia so that we are able to accept rather that fear and discriminate against it. We need to face this challenge head on and develop the skills to manage the problem and work towards a more inclusive community.
Interchange Australia has experience providing services to people with dementia both on a 1:1 and group basis. For more information about these services, please call one of our friendly and experienced consultants on 1300 112 334.
To learn more about dementia, visit the Dementia Australia website.
*All statistics sourced from Dementia Australia