World Alzheimer’s Month 2016

Well, technically it is Day 2 of #DAM2016 in Australia, but as it is before midnight on September 1 in the UK, I could also say it is Day 1 of #WAM2016! I have not been here at all lately, in part due to health issues but also trying almost desperately to keep up with my studies. But actually I really miss blogging more regularly, and feel I need to make an effort to at least be a bit more active for September. My sleep patterns are, like many with dementia also tell me, totally changed, and if being awake at 3 or 4 am means I have the time to write a blog, then that has to be a positive. Right?

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 4.03.29 PMI’d like to start with a survey done by Alzheimer’s Australia they released yesterday, as part of their Dementia Awareness Month activities. In this survey of more than 1,500 people , including people with dementia, carers and members of the general public, they found some unsurprising, but alarming results, as follows.

“The survey also found that people with dementia report significantly fewer relationships than carers, who in turn have significantly fewer relationships than the general public. This was mainly due to friendships falling away, often leading to the experience of being socially isolated.

As well, people with dementia are more than twice as likely not to see any friends when compared with carers and the general public, were more than three times as likely not to have a confidant and were almost three times as likely not to have a friend to call on for help when compared with the general public.

At a glance: Key findings from the Loneliness and Dementia Survey 2016

  • A person with dementia is more than twice as likely to have high levels of loneliness compared to the general public
  • People with dementia and carers are significantly more lonely than the general public
  • People with dementia (compared with carers and the general public) are:
    • More than twice as likely not to see any friends
    • More than three times more likely to not have a confidant
    • Almost three times as likely to not have a friend to call on for help compared with the general public
  • People with dementia report significantly fewer relationships than carers, who have significantly fewer relationships than the general public. This difference is mainly driven by friendships
  • More than 1,500 people responded to the survey

For a copy of the full report, head to https://www.fightdementia.org.au/files/NATIONAL/documents/Dementia-and-Loneliness.pdf.”

If I was not involved in advocacy and continuing to study and be involved at the University of Wollongong, I would also be intensely lonely, and some days, I do still feel desperately lonely.

If you are a person with dementia reading this, please also consider joining me at Dementia Alliance International, as we run weekly online support groups, cafes and other events to beat the loneliness. I can honestly say they are one of the few places I know of, where acceptance, laughter, and yes, sometimes shared tears, help reduce the loneliness and fear of dementia.

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