What you can do to support a person living with dementia

What you can do to support a person living with dementia
Dementia Action Week 2022 is from 19 -25 September. This year’s theme is ‘A little support makes a big difference’.

Discrimination has a significant impact on people living with dementia, their families and carers, and a little support from the community and health care professionals can make a big difference.

Practical tips you can do to support a person living with dementia:

  • Give a support to a person living with dementia, such as writing notes, keeping routines and planning activities they enjoy
  • Give a support to a carer, friend or family member of a person living with dementia, giving them a break when they need and respect their needs also 
  • Help healthcare professionals make their practice more dementia-friendly.

Dementia impacts close to half a million Australians and almost 1.6 million Australians are involved in their care. The number of people living with dementia is set to double in the next 25 years. With so many people impacted now and into the future, it is vital we clear up some of the prevailing misconceptions about dementia.

People living with dementia can live active and fulfilling lives many years after diagnosis. Despite this, they often experience discrimination. In a Dementia Australia survey, more than 70 per cent of people believed discrimination towards people with dementia is common or very common.

In 2019 more than 5,000 people from across Australia completed a survey to help us better understand how discrimination for people living with dementia occurs and what it would take to end discrimination.

Here are the results:

I feel like no one calls me anymore

  • 65% of people living with dementia who responded to the survey say people they know have avoided or excluded them
  • 74% of people living with dementia who responded to the survey say people haven’t kept in touch like they used to
  • 94% of family members, friends or carers who responded to the survey say people haven’t kept in touch with a relative who lives with dementia as they used to

I’m not invited any more

  • 71% of family, friends and carers who responded to the survey say they haven’t been included in family activities
  • 80% of family, friends and carers who responded to the survey say they haven’t been invited to social functions
  • 86% of family members, friends and carers who responded to the survey felt the discrimination came from friends or other people they know socially

I don’t feel welcome any more

  • 80% of family members, friends or carers who responded to the survey say that people have gone out of their way to avoid their friend or relative who lives with dementia when they are out and about
  • 81% of family, friends and carers who responded to the survey felt that people in shops, cafes and restaurants treat people with dementia differently
  • 90% of family members, friends or carers who responded to the survey say that their friend or relative who lives with dementia has been treated with less respect than other people

Your words affect me

  • 73% of family members, friends or carers who responded to the survey say people make jokes at the expense of their friend or relative who lives with dementia
  • 96% of family members, friends or carers who responded to the survey say people act as if they don’t know what to say to their friend or relative who lives with dementia

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