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Understanding Alzheimer’s and dementia

Posted: 8/29/2019 12:51 AM by Just Better Care
Understanding Alzheimer’s and dementia World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21 is a global day of awareness about the needs of people living with dementia and its growing incidence.

In 2019, there is an estimated 447,000 Australians living with dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to just over 580,000 by 2028.

As our populations age and people are living longer, it’s important to understand some key pieces of information about dementia, particularly as incidences of dementia increase.

Symptoms and causes
Although dementia is complex, it’s important to understand the symptoms, causes and progression of dementia.
  • Dementia is not a natural part of ageing, but it is more common in people over 65 years of age. It can be defined as a collection of symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain.
  • There is no current treatment for dementia.
  • Because the brain condition shows many symptoms, which often don’t show up until years after it has progressed, dementia can be difficult to predict.
  • There are several conditions that produce symptoms similar to those of dementia, and they include some vitamin and hormone deficiencies, infections and mental health conditions.
  • Some of the early signs of dementia are frequent memory loss, personality change and loss of ability to perform everyday tasks.
Ongoing research
The Australian Government recognise the impact the increasing prevalence of the disease has on our population. Fortunately, this has led to increased funding into research and awareness, supporting students and early career dementia researchers. In 2015, the Federal Government committed to an additional $200 million for dementia research over five years.

Learning more
Community carers and families can support the older people in their life by gaining a better understanding of dementia, knowing what symptoms to look out for and helping with early detection.

To read important dementia resources, access Dementia Australia’s publicly available help sheets.

For carers, friends or family who want to explore more in-depth, a number of reputable courses are readily available online. The University of Tasmania is currently offering a free online course ‘Understanding Dementia’, created by neuroscientists and dementia care professionals. Learn more about the course here.

Our specialised teams are experienced in providing dementia support. They can help you find the balance between managing symptoms and getting on with life. Contact us to discuss your individual needs.

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