As part of my personal campaign to raise awareness of dementia, and break down the myths, and reduce the stigma, discrimination and stigma, I have spent this morning presenting at the 9th Conference of The Australian College of Nurse Practitioners, at the SMC Conference & Function Centre in Sydney.
Professor Brian Draper from Sydney University spoke about the Inspired Study he has been involved in for some years, and it was an honour to present after him.I challenged the Nurse Practitioners who were in attendance to become interested in dementia, based on the numbers of people expected to be diagnosed by 2015 (900,000), and on the ADI stats of 4 new diagnosis worldwide, per second, at the moment.
After this event, of which I only attended a half day out of three, I was interviewed by someone from the Aged Care sector, and she asked me what my over-riding message was or is. I guess it is this:
Treat the symptoms of dementia as disabilities, and treat those of us diagnosed with dementia with the same respect for our humanity, and our right to full citizenship, in the same way you would anyone else. Dementia does not have to define us, and we can live well with it.