World Alzheimer Report 2012: Overcoming the stigma of dementia

Every four seconds someone around the
world will develop dementiathirty eight million people are affected
worldwidea number that will rise to a hundred and
fifteen millionby 2050. Dementia knows no social, economic,
ethnic or geographical boundaries. Although each person will experience
dementia in their own way, a common threadwill be the stigma they are likely
to experience. At a time when people are most in need
of love and supporta wall of stigma closes in around them. People with dementiaare excluded and also that people don’t
know how to interact with persons with dementiathat people are afraid of
persons with dementia and that they arevery much afraid of the disease itself, andso they try to avoid them. Dementia can strike anyone over the age
of forty fiveBep was first diagnosed in 2007The new report, Overcoming the stigma of dementia, released by Alzheimer’s DiseaseInternational on the occasion of World
Alzheimer’s Dayexplores the emotional social and
financial impact of stigma. It’s based ona survey of over two thousand five
hundred people affected by dementiaacross fifty four countries. Executive Director of ADI, Marc WortmannThe World Alzheimer Reports are made tohelp us making Alzheimer’s disease and
dementia a global health priority. They give data on the the cost and
the numbers of people with the diseaseand other background information. Stigma is a very important topic
because it’s a barrierto find solutions forthis disease areabecause many people don’t understand the
diseaseand try to. . . not to talk about it. Nearly one-in-four respondents with
dementia said they had concealed theirdiagnosis from family and friends for
fear of being stigmatized. A similar number said they had stopped
forming close relationships since thediagnosis. The survey also reveals that
nearly forty percent of people felt theyhad been avoided or treated differently
because of their diagnosis. They don’t want to see her nowIt should be the other way around, you know. They should come and see her more nowBut they are keeping away because they don’t want to see her in this state. Report co-author and specialist in dementia, Nicole BatschThe most important findings from the
survey included the marginalizationof the person with dementia,the social exclusion of the person with
dementia and their carer, feeling sociallyexcluded and really the person with dementia wanting to feelthat they uh. . . that they’re a human being stillandwanting people to focus on their
abilities and not their disabilities. Some peopletreated me differentlyor still dothey try to be overprotectivethey think I’ma kind of childand they try to tell me what to do, when
to doit’s like a remote-control. Social
exclusion was another major theme asnearly forty percent of people with
dementia reported not being included ineveryday life. The biggest source of stigma that
people identified was a loss of friendsthat’s both for the person with dementia
and the carer. They experience either their friends pulling away or they stop calling . . . they stop invitingthe person with dementia and the carer out tosocial opportunities. Society can help tominimize stigma by accepting people
with dementia in society. Give people theopportunity to take part in normal
day-to-day activities, talk to them,just approach them as you did beforeand don’t walk away from your friends
if they are hit by this disease. Nearly two outof three respondents felt that there was
little or no understanding of dementiain their countries. Chairman of Alzheimer’s Disease
International, Dr Jacob RoySociety and governmentshave to promotedementia friendly communitiesworldwide. They need to invest in
services and the system to improvethe quality of life for people with dementia. We urge the world’s governments to
consider recognize dementia as anationalhealth and social care priority. One of the good things that could happen
is if countries decide onawareness campaigns – public awareness campaigns – and governments can play a roleinto that. To get a better understanding of the disease
and ideally every country should havea national Alzheimer plan.

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