Following on from a recent blog about Dementia Risk Reduction, I received the comment below, which is being highlighted today, as this is such an important issue. I understand the necessity from a personal and public health strategy perpective for us to engage in risk reduction strategies.
I also understand that we humans don’t always live healthy lives, until something goes wrong with out bodies or minds! Although the evidence is increasing for risk reduction factors for dementia, I wonder are people likely to bother to engage seriously in these strategies anyway, and suspect the majority won’t. That is all part of being human.
I have seen this blaming happening. when I was diagnosed last year I was cautious who I told. At a combined lunch at church I gingerly introduced the word dementia, and heard a vitriolic criticism of those with dementia strongly implying that they deserved what they got as it is preventable. I lost complete faith in the two main instigators of this conversation. And the upshot of this was even more caution in who I told.
Risk reduction for dementia, or indeed, any other chronic health condition is incredibly important from an economic and human cost perspective, The problem with risk reduciton campaigns around any specific conditions, is they can lead to people beign diagnosed with those conditins being blamed for them.
Diseases such as diabetes have had a lot of campaigns about risk reduction, and governments need them, as they simply canmot afford health care as it is. Many people I know who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes since these very public campaigns, have told me they are often even discrimianted gainst, and the sitgma is hig, and families and friends are less than sympathetic, as they blame them on lifestyle for getting diabetes. I’m sure people who smoke cigarettes, and then get lung cancer are likely experiencing the same lack of sympathy.
I have no answers, but wanted to flag my concerns here, and am hopeful some of you will have ideas for how we can reduce the negative consequences of the risk reduction campaigns for dementia, or any other health condition…