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Survey reveals ‘shocking lack’ of dementia awareness

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A large number of people in the UK have a ‘shocking lack of understanding’ when it comes to dementia, latest survey results suggest.

According to a poll of more than 2,000 people aged 16 and over, more than half do not realise there is no cure for dementia, and 72% wrongly think it is mainly a hereditary illness.

The survey, conducted by the Alzheimer’s Society, also revealed that more than a third mistakenly think dementia is a ‘natural part of ageing’, and 26% think there is no way to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Additionally, 45% of those surveyed thought that a history of mental illness increased the risk of developing dementia, even though there is no evidence to support this.

Many people were also unaware of the well established risk factors associated with dementia, with only 35% believing that smoking increased the risk, and 25% linking obesity to increased risk.

Sarah Day, head of public health at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘Clearly there is still a shocking lack of understanding when it comes to dementia. The truth is dementia is not a natural part of ageing, it is caused by diseases of the brain and robs people of their lives.’

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • Sadly it is not only the public who are lacking in their understanding of dementia. Working as a psych liaison nurse for older adults I have many occasions to be shocked and saddened by the lack of knowledge of both medics and nurses on the general wards of the hospitals I visit.
    Lack of knowledge together with huge work loads, pressure on beds and a chronic shortage of staff often means that those people least able to express their needs or emotions are labeled 'difficult' and we are requested to medicate them or remove them to a psychiatric hospital where 'they' belong.

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  • I agree with this comment i feel especially general nursing staff almost fear dementia patients as they do not know how to work with them to provide the best care therefore refer on to mental health staff , more training is needed to overcome this barrier! it is ridiculous

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  • I agree with this comment i feel especially general nursing staff almost fear dementia patients as they do not know how to work with them to provide the best care therefore refer on to mental health staff , more training is needed to overcome this barrier! it is ridiculous

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