This is a very real experience for more than 353,800 Australians living with dementia right now. With Australia’s population rapidly ageing, the prevalence of dementia is expected to increase to 400,000 in less than five years.
According to figures released by Alzheimer’s Australia:
There are more than 1,800 new cases of dementia in Australia each week.
That’s about one person every six minutes…
What is dementia?
Dementia affects a person’s mental ability and causes them to ‘forget’ things and experience problems, such as:
Types of dementia
There are more types of dementia than you may think. Some of the main types include:
Answers from people living with dementia
Hear about dementia straight from the people living with it in this great video series from Alzheimer's Australia:
Just forgetful, or do I have dementia?
Everyone becomes forgetful from time to time. But when does an ordinary memory lapse indicate something more serious?
Memory loss experienced from dementia is different from ‘normal’ forgetfulness.
An example of ‘normal’ forgetfulness, according to Alzheimer’s Australia, is misplacing the car keys, while dementia memory loss is like forgetting what your car keys are used for.
Early signs of dementia
One of the most common early signs of dementia can be memory loss but symptoms, whether obvious or subtle, vary for each person.
Other signs of dementia may include:
These are just a few of the possible ‘early’ indicators that something might not be ‘right’.
Remember: Only your local doctor will be able to properly diagnose dementia.
Did you know: According to Alzheimer’s Australia: On average, symptoms of dementia are noticed by families three years before a proper diagnosis is made.
Wanted: A cure or prevention
There is currently no cure for dementia.
The onset of the neurological disease cannot yet be stopped or reversed.
For years, researchers across the world have been investigating ways to cure dementia.
While we wait for that historic moment:
being diagnosed with dementia early on can help you plan for the future.
I'm ‘too young' to have dementia...
The term ‘younger onset dementia’ describes dementia diagnosed in people of any age under 65 years. The latest Alzheimer’s Australia figures reveal younger onset dementia affects about 24,500 Australians.
While this statistic is worrying, many more people are diagnosed with dementia after the age of 65 years.
But regardless of how old you are, it’s important to know…
… memory loss and dementia is not a normal part of ageing.
Find out more about younger onset dementia at Alzheimer’s Australia.
So, who can help?
Alzheimer’s Australia can provide support services, education and information, as well as assisting carers and families to manage the daily challenges that dementia brings.
Living at home with dementia
More and more people continue to live at home with dementia.
Sometimes it can be challenging, but:
it’s important not to treat people living with dementia in their home as ‘incapable’ of living life.
there’s no place like home.
So helping a person remain in the familiar surroundings of their home for as long as possible, whether living with dementia or not, is important.
If you or a loved one lives at home with dementia, there are people whose job involves reminding you to:
Living in aged care homes with dementia
Many aged care homes offer full support to people living with dementia.
Some of these homes have separate dementia wings, or sections, and may be described as: Dementia-specific.
Most of these homes have activities to help keep people with dementia engaged which you’ll see demonstrated in the video below:
Thanks for reading!
Find aged care homes catering for a specific dementia level here.