Dementia impacts nearly half a million Australians and the number is expected to double in the next 25 years.
The theme for this year’s Dementia Action Week (19-25 September), a national awareness campaign that challenges common misconceptions about dementia, is ‘A little support makes a big difference’. The campaign aims to highlight that many people living with dementia can continue to live well for many years after their diagnosis.
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms caused by brain disease. Typical signs include gradual changes in thinking, memory, language and other areas that affect everyday activities. The many different types of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy body disease.
For Dementia Action Week, peak body Dementia Australia is aiming to clear up prevailing misconceptions about the disease.
It says an estimated 65% of Australians living with dementia live in the community. They can lead active and fulfilling lives many years after diagnosis, however, often experience discrimination. A Dementia Australia survey found more than 70% of people believed discrimination towards people with dementia is common, or very common.
This year’s awareness campaign provides information and tips to encourage all Australians to increase their understanding of dementia and learn how they can make a difference to the lives of people around them who are impacted – and help eliminate discrimination.
The simple and practical tips include 7 tips for communities on how to better support people with dementia; how to help healthcare professionals make their practice more dementia-friendly; and resources to learn more about dementia and memory loss.
Dementia Action Week continues to lead the discussion about dementia and eliminating discrimination.
To help people and groups provide support and make a difference in the lives of people living with dementia in their community, Dementia Australia has produced a downloadable events and activities toolkit.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the toolkit was a valuable resource for anyone who wanted to support people living with dementia in their community.
“We know discrimination has a significant impact on people living with dementia, their families and carers, and a little support from the community and healthcare professionals can make a big difference,” Ms McCabe said.
“We are encouraging communities to download the toolkit and come together to learn more about how they can support people living with dementia. Whether in a workplace, at a bowls or footy club, or just with friends and family, we want everyone to get together to learn more about dementia and how a little support can make a big difference.”
For more information on how to get involved visit dementia.org.au
Find out more about practical tips here
Toolkit to help run events and activities here