Right now, almost 500,000 Australians are living with dementia, and this will most likely double by 2056. It’s the leading cause of death for older Australian women and the biggest cause of disability in Australians aged 65+.
About half of the residents in aged-care facilities have a diagnosis of dementia.
It’s a massive issue that we all need to cope with. Some of us, like me, will watch family members experience dementia while others will have friends or colleagues with dementia. It can be a heart-breaking experience to journey together with your loved one, and a frightening journey to walk alone.
If you’re worried that you, or someone you care about, might possibly be experiencing signs of dementia, do seek help.
It’s super-important to get an investigation as early as possible for a couple of reasons.
- It might not even be dementia!
There are quite a few medical conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia. And for lots of these conditions, the dementia symptoms go away when the disorder is treated.And, as with anything that hurts you, the sooner you get it sorted out, the less damage done and the faster you can recover.
- Early diagnosis contributes to better life quality as the disease progresses
- Plan and engage with what you really want to do with your time
- Ensure you’re looking after yourself well
- Help plan and decide what happens as dementia progresses
- Organise your family supports to maximise your independence
- Organise your community supports to maximise your independence
Christine Bryden was diagnosed with younger onset dementia at the age of 46. In her book, Dancing with dementia she says that living with dementia is
“…as if we are hanging onto a high cliff, above a lurking black hole. Daily tasks are complex. Nothing is automatic anymore. Everything is as if we are first learning.”
Here’s Christine’s perspective on dementia and some tips for carers/families/friends.
From the Alzheimer’s Society, a brief look at living with dementia and some ways people can be supported in the community.
And here’s an example of a therapy that can be wonderful for those with dementia – their own preferred music!
If you want to have a chat about any of this, give me a call on 0456 033 200.