De­men­tia cases are on the rise


KNOWL­EDGE of de­men­tia is on the rise but a new study has found peo­ple are find­ing it dif­fi­cult to sup­port or com­mu­ni­cate with some­one liv­ing with the dis­ease.

This comes as up­dated fig­ures re­veal there are more than 436,000 Aus­tralians now liv­ing with de­men­tia – es­ti­mated to be more than 250 new cases every day.

This num­ber is pro­jected to in­crease to 590,000 in just 10 years and al­most 1.1 mil­lion by 2058.

In the fed­eral elec­torates of Blair and Wright, there are an es­ti­mated 4929 peo­ple liv­ing with de­men­tia this year, which is ex­pected to in­crease to 7359 by 2028 and 14,985 by 2058 re­spec­tively.

The sur­vey was re­leased to co­in­cide with World Alzheimer’s Day on Fri­day.

De­men­tia Aus­tralia CEO Ma­ree Mccabe said one of the big­gest is­sues peo­ple faced fol­low­ing a di­ag­no­sis of de­men­tia was so­cial iso­la­tion, as friends, fam­ily and their com­mu­nity strug­gled to un­der­stand how to best sup­port and con­tinue to in­clude peo­ple liv­ing with the dis­ease.

“De­men­tia can be one of the most pro­foundly iso­lat­ing con­di­tions, de­spite the fact it is im­pact­ing so many peo­ple,” Ms Mccabe said.

“What has been heart­en­ing to see, though, is that 80 per cent of peo­ple sur­veyed had heard of de­men­tia and, of those peo­ple, a fur­ther three in four peo­ple were able to cor­rectly iden­tify ba­sic facts about de­men­tia.

“De­spite this knowl­edge, it is con­cern­ing that four out of five peo­ple sur­veyed be­lieve that oth­ers feel un­com­fort­able around peo­ple with de­men­tia and two in three be­lieve that in­di­vid­u­als have a neg­a­tive per­cep­tion of peo­ple with de­men­tia.

“When we ex­plored this fur­ther in the sur­vey, it re­ally came down to peo­ple say­ing they just weren’t sure how to talk to some­one with de­men­tia.”

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