This report is a sad exposé of how the general community view dementia in general, and especially the people diagnosed with dementia. Its findings show 50.8% of the respondents agreed that people with dementia cannot be expected to have a meaningful conversation, and 11.7% of respondents said that they would avoid spending much time with a person who had dementia. We have such a long way to go!
“Exploring Dementia and Stigma Beliefs” which describes the results of a pilot study which asked 616 Australians for their views about people with dementia. The study was conducted by Lyn Phillipson and colleagues at the Centre for Health Initiative at the University of Wollongong.
Additionally, a percentage of respondents agreed that people with dementia:
• can be irritating – 30.4%;
• have poor personal hygiene – 14.3%.
However, there were some positive views expressed with the following percentage of respondents agreeing that people with dementia:
• are able to participate in a wide variety of activities – 38.6%;
• are a good source of wisdom – 37.7%;
• can pass on valued traditions – 34.4%
The results also indicate that there is an expectation by many in the community that if they receive a diagnosis of dementia they would feel a sense of shame or humiliation or experience depression or anxiety. Many were also afraid that a diagnosis would mean that they would be discriminated against both in the community and in the health sector. Alzheimer’s Australia is committed to raising awareness about dementia and reducing the stigma and social isolation that often accompanies a diagnosis. (Fight Dementia News, 13th July 2012)