Dementia Stigma is an International Concern

Its the end of September so as always at the end of World Alzheimers Month,  Alzheimer’s Disease International publish a new World Alzheimer’s Report.

The report reveals the results of the largest attitudes to dementia survey ever undertaken, with almost 70,000 people across 155 countries and territories completing the survey. It spans four demographic groups: people living with dementia, carers, healthcare practitioners and the general public. Analysis was carried out by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • Almost 80% of the general public are concerned about developing dementia at some point and 1 in 4 people think that there is nothing we can do to prevent dementia
  • 35% of carers across the world said that they have hidden the diagnosis of dementia of a family member
  • Over 50% of carers globally say their health has suffered as a result of their caring responsibilities even whilst expressing positive sentiments about their role.

For me the two findings that cause the most concerns were that almost 62% of healthcare providers worldwide think that dementia is part of normal ageing.

Perhaps worse 40% of the general public think doctors and nurses ignore people with dementia and and 33% of people thought that if they had dementia, they would not be listened to by health professionals.

Now those figures are bad, but unbelievably over 50% of healthcare practitioners agreed that their own colleagues ignore people living with dementia.

The report reveals that stigma around dementia still prevents people around the world from seeking the information, advice, support and medical help that could dramatically improve their length and quality of life for what is globally one of the fastest growing causes of death.

“Stigma is the single biggest barrier limiting people around the world from dramatically improving how they live with dementia,” says ADI’s Chief Executive Paola Barbarino.

“The consequences of stigma are therefore incredibly important to understand. At the individual level, stigma can undermine life goals and reduce participation in meaningful life activities as well as lower levels of well-being and quality of life. At the societal level, structural stigma and discrimination can influence levels of funding allocated to care and support.

“…currently, there is very little information about how stigma manifests in relation to people with dementia and how this may vary around the world. This detailed survey and report now give us a baseline of information for dementia-related stigma at a global, regional and national level. We’re hopeful these findings can kick start positive reform and change globally.”

If you want to read more about the report and download a copy go to https://www.alz.co.uk/research/world-report-2019

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