Dementia Awareness Month

Did you know that September is Dementia Awareness Month?

Dementia Awareness Month is a campaign conducted by Alzheimer’s Australia that’s all about encouraging Australians to become aware of dementia and to have a greater understanding of what it’s like for a person to live with dementia.

The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘You Are Not Alone’. And, the statement is very true, as 353,800 Australians are currently living with dementia.

So, what exactly is dementia?

Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It isn’t one specific disease, according to Alzheimer’s Australia. Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability of a person to perform everyday tasks and can interfere with a person’s ability to work and function in society.

Most people who have dementia are older, but not all older people have dementia. According to Alzheimer’s Australia, it is not a normal part of ageing. Dementia can happen to anyone, but it is more common to occur after the age of 65. However, people in their 40’s and 50’s can also have dementia. Dementia is the greatest cause of disability in people aged over 65.

The most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration, Huntington’s Disease, Alcohol related Dementia (Korsakoff’s syndrome) and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, according to Alzheimer’s Australia.

It’s essential that a medical diagnosis is received when symptoms of dementia first appear, to ensure that the correct medical treatment is given and that appropriate support and information are provided.

What are the early signs of dementia?

They can be subtle and vague and may not be obvious to you, but can include:

  • Progressive and frequent memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Personality change
  • Apathy and withdrawal
  • Loss of ability to perform everyday tasks

What can you do if you discover you or a family member has dementia?

If you are living with early stage dementia or are a carer for someone with dementia, you can join Alzheimer Australia’s early intervention program, where you will receive information and support with a small group of other people in a similar situation. Such a program can reduce the sense of isolation, distress and depression resulting from diagnosis and increase the self-esteem of people with or caring for someone with dementia.  More information can be found at: https://www.fightdementia.org.au/

Understanding dementia symptoms and working with them can mean better quality of life at home.

Dementia Awareness Month, Alzheimer's Australia

Activities for people with dementia during Dementia Awareness Month:

  • Memory fitness: How you can maximise your memory
    11.30am – 2.30pm on Monday September 4, 2017 at the War Memorial Hospital, 125 Birrell Street in Waverley
    Speaker includes Dr Nicole Kochan from the Centre for Healthy Brain and Ageing.
    Bookings required: Catriona tel: (02) 9369 0215 or catriona.beaumont@health.nsw.gov.au
  • Dementia Awareness Month Presentation
    10am on Wednesday September 13, 2017 at the Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Rd, The Domain 2000.
    Topic of presentation: ‘Forget Memory Loss, what about the person?’  by Steven Sabat, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Georgetown University, U.S.
    Free, but bookings required. Tel: 1800 679 278
  • Art and dementia – painting life
    10.30am on Thursday September 21, 2017 at the Art Gallery of NSW.
    Observe and discuss the vibrant paintings of contemporary life in Something living and take part in an artist-led art making session inspired by the exhibition. This tour is particularly designed for people living with younger-onset dementia and caters to individuals with their carers as well as groups. It will provide intellectual stimulation and encourage self-expression.
    Free to attend, but bookings required. Ticketing and information desk

For a full list of events during Dementia Awareness Month, click here

For information on how exercising the brain can help ward off Alzheimer’s Disease, click here

To discover what dementia is like, from an insider’s perspective, click here

How Oxley Home Care can help those living with dementia

Oxley Home Care provides individual essential support services for people with dementia and their carers, including:

  • Personal care, showering, dressing, grooming, dental hygiene and denture care
  • Early intervention and health and lifestyle coaching for people with dementia
  • Preparing and serving of meals
  • Daily living support, including domestic assistance
  • Transport to social events
  • Shopping and errands
  • Companionship and leisure activities

In addition, Oxley Home Care’s respite support allows carers to rest and re-energise with peace of mind, on a regular basis.

To find out more about getting the right support and care for a family member with dementia, contact Oxley Home Care on 130 993 591.

If you would like more information on dementia or Dementia Awareness Month, contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit their web site, www.fightdementia.org.au

Gilian Douglass

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *