Let’s take Dementia out of the shadows!
Join the Dementia Awareness Campaign!
Why a lack of Awareness keeps Dementia in the shadows
Low levels of understanding about dementia contribute to a number of misperceptions about the disease and result in a perpetuation of stigma, which is, sadly, prevalent in most countries. Misperception occurs on a number of levels: the broader community, people with dementia and their families, and those who provide health and social services to them.
Lack of understanding of the nature of the condition in the general public contributes to a fear of developing dementia.
There is a lack of awareness that there are risk factors for dementia that can be limited by a healthy lifestyle. Up to 50% of dementia cases may have a vascular component so taking measures such as eating healthily and keeping active may contribute to reducing risk.
- There is low awareness of the early signs of dementia, and its symptoms.
- Memory loss is seen to be a natural part of ageing, so dementia symptoms are not seen as a medical problem requiring help.
- As a result, people can delay speaking to a doctor and accessing services.
For awareness-raising to be effective, the issues to be addressed must be clearly identified. For example, in the United Kingdom an extensive review of qualitative and quantitative surveys has identified several themes (Public awareness of dementia: what every commissioner needs to know. London, Alzheimer’s Society, 2009. ).
- Raising public awareness and understanding of dementia;
- Reducing the stigma of dementia and challenging discriminatory behaviour;
- Recognizing the early signs of dementia to aid early diagnosis;
- Living well with dementia;
- The importance of a healthy lifestyle and reducing risk.
Let us Know what themes we should add for the Awareness Campaign in Trinidad and Tobago.