Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of ageing. Early diagnosis improves the quality of life of people with dementia and their families. However, patients from diverse backgrounds face additional challenges in getting an early diagnosis and care support which meets their needs.
1 Lack of knowledge about dementia and its symptoms
In some communities the perceptions of dementia is ranging from being an illness, a mental illness, a normal part of ageing or having no meaning at all. Dementia is a syndrome caused by a variety of brain illnesses that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday activities.
2 Perception of dementia as normal part of ageing
In some communities, dementia is regarded as a normal part of ageing. Late diagnosis of dementia is often at crisis point, due to lack of knowledge about early symptoms, where to go for help or being ashamed or labelled.
3 Stigma associated with dementia
Many people are unwilling to discuss the illness openly in fear that they will be labelled as ‘crazy’. As a result they tend to participate less in group activities or engage in social support groups.
4 Communication problems caused by having low literacy levels in English
With the onset of dementia some people may lose what skills they have in English and revert to their native language.
5 Misconception that people are cared for by family members
In some communities there is a strong expectation that the family or the children will care for parents with dementia. However, as the traditional values mix with newly acquired Australian values, the reality for many elderly is changing.
Find out more about the Perception of dementia in ethnic communities.
Alzheimer’s Australia provides dementia information in 43 languages.
Counselling support services are available on the National Dementia Helpline by calling 1800 100 500.
If you need an interpreter you can contact the National Dementia Helpline through the Telephone Interpreting Service on 131 450.
WHO: The number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 47.5 million and is projected to increase to 75.6 million by 2030. More research is needed to develop new and more effective treatments and to better understand the causes of dementia.
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