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World Alzheimer’s Day reports reinforce that conversations about dementia are vital

Dementia Australia 3 mins read

Today on World Alzheimer’s Day, Dementia Australia reinforces the need for everyone to act now to make our communities more dementia-friendly, so people living with dementia have access to the services, supports, activities and spaces to which every Australian is entitled.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the need for this focus is supported by national and international attention on dementia this week, including the release of significant reports, Alzheimer’s Disease International’s World Alzheimer Report 2023, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Dementia in Australia - update, and the release of Development of the National Dementia Action Plan – Summary of consultation outcomes

“Dementia is a significant and growing health and aged care issue in Australia,” Ms McCabe said. 

“With more than 400,000 Australians living with dementia and the number expected to increase to more than 800,000 by 2058, dementia is the chronic disease of the 21st century and must receive the attention it needs.”

The World Alzheimer Report 2023 focuses on dementia risk reduction and draws on insights from approximately 90 high-profile researchers, healthcare professionals, policymakers, people living with dementia, and informal carers, to help readers understand dementia risk in an holistic and easy-to-read way.

“While there is nothing definitive you can do to prevent dementia, there are many things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing dementia,” Ms McCabe said.

“These include looking after your brain health, body health and heart health, and it’s never too early or too late to start.

“While we cannot change getting older, genetics or family history, scientific research suggests that changing certain health and lifestyle habits may make a big difference to reducing or delaying your risk of developing dementia.”

The Dementia in Australia – update shows the continued substantial impact on the health and quality of life of people living with dementia, as well as for their family and friends and the Development of the National Dementia Action Plan highlights the discrimination and isolation people living with dementia face after diagnosis.

Ms McCabe said this was in line with results of successive Dementia Australia surveys showing 32 per cent of Australians found people living with dementia frightening, an increase from 23 per cent a decade ago. [1]

“Fear leads to stigma and discrimination which can have a real and distressing impact on people living with dementia, their families and carers. People may avoid seeking critical medical and social support and become increasingly socially isolated,” she said.

“The good news is, there are so many simple things we can do every day to change this.

“By taking small steps and considering ways to include people living with dementia, you can ensure a better experience for everyone in your community. 

“We have the resources and information freely available on our website for everyone to make a start.”

During Dementia Action Week, Dementia Australia is providing information on its website (dementia.org.au/DementiaActionWeek) on actions that individuals and organisations can take to become more dementia-friendly.

Find our Dementia Action Week infographic here.

Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated more than 400,000 Australians living with dementia, and the more than 1.5 million people involved in their care. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible. No matter how you are impacted by dementia or who you are, we are here for you.

For support, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. An interpreter service is available. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Australian Government. People looking for information can also visit dementia.org.au

-Ends-

Media contacts: Gabrielle Prabhu gabrielle.prabhu@dementia.org.au 0447 253 583

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines.

Note to Editors:

We request, where possible, details for the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 appear alongside news stories about dementia, as these stories often prompt questions or concerns:

If this story has prompted any questions or concerns, please call the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 (24 hours, 7 days a week) or visit dementia.org.au. 

[1] Ipsos Dementia Australia Report, 2023 and Perceptions and Understanding of Dementia, 2012, Ipsos

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