As the aging population continues to expand over the next 20 years, so does the incidence of dementia among the world’s seniors. This cognitive decline which affect thinking and behavior, gradually robs a person of their ability to care for themselves along with much of their personality and memories. Those who care for the elderly living with dementia, as a result of Alzheimer’s Disease or other causes, can also feel the sharp sting of social isolation that often accompanies this condition.
A recent study by Alzheimer’s Australia found that people living with dementia, as well as their caregivers, are significantly lonelier than their peers. Because there is still a stigma surrounding dementia, friends and family pull away from not only the person diagnosed with dementia but also their caregivers. By raising awareness about dementia, the community can help support those with dementia and the families who take care of them.
According to the World Health Organization, 47.5 million people have dementia worldwide and there are a new 7.7 million cases each year. Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older adults and has a significant impact on the physical, psychological, social and economic life of patients, families and caregivers. Dementia is not a normal part of aging but is a syndrome that results in cognitive decline that is beyond the scope of what would be expected as result of aging. It can be caused by a variety of diseases, such as A.D., as well as stroke or injury to the brain.
Communities that create dementia-friendly social and volunteer activities and offer dementia training opportunities can help people with dementia and their caregivers live a more full and rewarding life. September is Dementia Awareness Month; you can learn more about creating dementia-friendly communities by visiting the Alzheimer’s Australia’s website at: https://www.fightdementia.org.au/about-us/campaigns/dementia-friendly-communities .