Not a normal part of ageing: Dementia & World Alzheimer’s Day 2018

21st September 2018, World Alzheimer’s Day

Today we remember people living with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are the most common types of dementia, responsible for up to 90% of cases of dementia. Symptoms may include:

  • loss of memory
  • difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying
  • difficulty in performing previously routine tasks
  • personality and mood changes

Dementia knows no social, economic or geographical boundaries. Although each person will experience dementia in their own way, eventually those affected are unable to care for themselves and need help with all aspects of daily life. There is currently no cure for most types of dementia, but treatments, advice, and support are available.

Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. The number of people living with dementia around the world is expected to almost double every 20 years, reaching 152 million by 2050. The global cost of dementia is over $US one trillion in 2018, exceeding the market value the world’s largest companies including Apple and Microsoft.

Dementia is now widely recognised as one of the most significant health crises of the 21st century.

According to the ABS, dementia including Alzheimer’s disease is currently the second most common cause of death in Australia. For women, dementia has replaced heart disease as the leading cause of death.

The Dementia Australia website tell us that dementia is not a normal part of ageing. Most people with dementia are older, but it is important to remember that not all older people get dementia. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65 years. People in their 40s and 50s can also have dementia.

Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life.

To learn more about dementia why not enrol in one of the free Dementia MOOCs conducted by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre at the University of Tasmania? Click here for more information or to sign up now for the next Preventing Dementia MOOC commencing on the 2nd of October.

World Alzheimer’s Day is a global campaign designed to recognise the impact of dementia and support those affected. To find out more or get involved visit   #WorldAlzMonth