(Photo taken by Janine Cohen)
The ABC’s recent ‘Four Corners’ program, ‘Forget Me Not’ featured a story on three Australians who have been diagnosed with dementia.
According to the ‘Four Corners’ program, “more than 400,000 Australians currently live with the disease and the figures are rising. Dementia is the second biggest cause of death in Australia.”
A diagnosis of dementia
For the families featured on the program, they faced the diagnosis of dementia clear-eyed, with a determination to enjoy life to the full.
In particular, for Suzie O’Sullivan, simply obtaining a diagnosis for Early Onset Dementia was difficult.
As Dr. Sherry Watson said to Suzie O’Sullivan in the program: “There was a whole team of people that assessed Suzie including neurologists, GPs, myself, various allied health people and neuro psychological testing.”
As Suzie O’Sullivan said: “There is the option to learn more about the disease and deal with it in the way that you choose.”
Dementia – the sporadic disease
There are over 100 different varieties of dementia, but Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia that is diagnosed, according to Alzheimer’s Australia.
It is what they call a sporadic disease – it affects people quite randomly.
David Ames, Professor of Ageing and Health at the University of Melbourne in Australia said in the program: “People with dementia are twice as likely to die of pneumonia as people who haven’t got dementia. They are also twice as likely to die in accidents – which could include anything from walking in front of a bus to tripping over and breaking a hip.”
Reducing the risk
As outlined in the program, Alzheimer’s Australia does a great deal of work on risk reduction. There are many lifestyle-oriented activities that you can do to reduce the likelihood of being diagnosed with dementia. These include:
- Physical exercise – this is probably the number one thing that is going to lower your risk.
- Limiting smoking
- Limiting your alcohol intake
- Having a healthy diet
“Studies that follow older people over time seem to find that those who are physically active, intellectually engaged and socially engaged may do better over time than those who are not,” said Professor David Ames, Professor of Ageing and Health at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
There are currently more than 40 trials in Australia looking for a cure or more effective treatments.
Oxley Home Care Dementia Care Services
We provide dementia care to our clients to ensure that a quality of life is experienced in the comfort of their own home. We do this by encouraging independent living through personal and social connections with the community.
We provide an individual and person-centred approach to dementia care services, working with our clients to set realistic and achievable goals that meet their unique needs.
For more information, please feel free to call us on 1300 993 591.