18 April 2019
Dementia is the inability to carry out everyday activities as a consequence of diminished cognitive (thinking) ability. Dementia is usually diagnosed if two or more cognitive functions are significantly impaired. People with dementia often experience difficulty solving problems and controlling their emotions. This may be accompanied by personality changes such as agitation or delusions.
You may recognise some of the cognitive functions easily, others may be less obvious however:
• Understanding and processing information
• Spatial awareness
• Focus and attention
Dementia Australia provides some insights into the prevalence and impact of dementia in Australia. They state that:
• In 2018, there was an estimated 447,115 Australians living with dementia and of that amount, 27,247 people were diagnosed with younger onset dementia.
• Currently an estimated 250 people are joining the population with dementia each day.
• Three in 10 people over the age of 85 and almost one in 10 people over 65 have dementia
• In 2019, it is estimated that almost 1.5 million people in Australia are involved in the care of someone living with dementia
• In 2018, dementia is estimated to have cost Australia more than $15 billion.
• Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians (aged 65 years or older) and the third leading cause of disability overall
• People with dementia account for 52% of all residents in residential aged care facilities
Dementia is a social problem, not just a medical one. Dementia is something we all need to learn to live with as it will affect many of us either directly or indirectly. Care givers need to be given support and understanding as they experience an “ambiguous loss” having a loved one both here and not here, physically present but psychologically absent.
Interchange Australia provides support to people with dementia and younger onset dementia. To learn more about these services, please call one of our friendly and experienced consultants.
To learn more about dementia, please visit the Dementia Australia website.