Dementia concerns hard to broach
Published on 21 May 2013 11:30 AM
Nearly half of Britons would find it too scary to utter the following 5 words: 'I think I've got dementia.'
That is according to new research from the Alzheimer's Society, which says this could mean that up to half a million people are struggling in silence and not turning to their families for support.
The charity's report was published on May 21 to mark Dementia Awareness Week (May 19-25).
It found that 45% of adults would find it hard to tell their families if they thought they had the condition, which is characterised by memory loss.
Tips on starting the conversation
To help combat this perceived stigma, the Alzheimer's Society has released a new booklet that provides tips on starting a conversation about the condition.
Charity chief executive Jeremy Hughes said it is 'really saddening' that dementia is still a disease that many people feel uncomfortable talking about, especially with our own families.
He said that a third of people over 65 will develop dementia in the UK and hundreds of thousands more are affected by the condition in some way, whether it is a family member or a friend.
Mr Hughes said that the charity wants people to start talking about the illness during Dementia Awareness Week.
'Talking changes everything'
The charity has coined the motto 'Worrying changes nothing. Talking changes everything' in a bid to get people who think they may have the condition to chat openly about it.
Mr Hughes added: 'It is not just about preparing us all for a condition that is on the rise and currently incurable, it is about banishing the stigma surrounding dementia that is causing so many people to struggle in silence.'
What is dementia?
The term 'dementia' describes a variety of symptoms that include loss of memory, mood changes, and problems with communication and reasoning.
There are several kinds of dementia. The most prevalent are Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Dementia is progressive, so the symptoms will gradually get worse.
A total of 800,000 people suffer with dementia across the UK, with two-thirds of them women. One in three people over 65 will develop the condition, but it can also strike one in 1,400 people between 40-64 years of age.
Copyright Press Association 2013