Australians urged to keep the world open for people living with dementia

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Dementia Australia has launched a new campaign urging all Australians to take a pledge to help keep the world open for people living with dementia, not just during the COVID-19 pandemic, but every day. 

COVID-19 has changed everyone’s lives. Familiar routines have stopped, people are feeling disconnected and anxious, but for most of us, once the crisis has passed we will be able to reconnect with family and friends and get back to normal routines. 

For people living with dementia, living in isolation can be a reality all day, every day even under usual circumstances.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the experience of living in self-isolation has been challenging and insightful for many Australians and it’s an experience we can all learn from.

“People not impacted by dementia are now experiencing what life can be like being socially isolated when the world is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms McCabe said.

“Imagine if this was every day. That’s why we are running this campaign now while people are more aware of what this experience feels like. 

“Often, people stop talking to those living with dementia, staying in touch or inviting them to things. People living with dementia are often socially isolated all day, every day. That’s not dementia, that’s discrimination. 

“We are asking all Australians to take the pledge and find out more at keeptheworldopen.com.au.”

Discrimination can happen in many ways and Dementia Advocates say it’s an experience they have felt regularly.

“Our own self-perception becomes damaged and we feel constantly in the wrong.”

“It stops you wanting to engage. It is devaluing.”

“Everyone wants to make decisions for me.”

“I stopped going out because people aren’t going to listen anyway, or understand what I am trying to say.”

“You are constantly second guessing. Is it me? Is it my husband? When you hear about social events, you think I would have liked to go to that.”

Discrimination can happen in many ways and are often unintentional, including comments such as the ones below which are real examples said to some Dementia Advocates: 

“But you don't have the serious type of dementia”

“You don’t seem like someone who has dementia’”

"Should you still be looking after your grandchildren?"

“Why are you getting upset? Oh, don't worry he’s got dementia”

Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and the leading cause of death of Australian women.  There are an estimated 459,000 Australians living with dementia and almost 1.6 million people in Australia involved in the care of someone living with dementia.  

Dementia Australia invites all Australians to find out more and dementia, discrimination, see some practical tips, and to take the pledge on our website www.keeptheworldopen.com.au

Dementia Australia also shares insights and tips on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

This Dementia Australia initiative received funding from the Australian Government.

 

Dementia Australia is the national peak body and charity for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 459,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach almost 1.1 million by 2058. Dementia Australia’s services are supported by the Australian Government.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500                                                                                                               

Interpreter service available                                                                                                                                               

(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)                                                                                                        

Dementia is a National Health Priority Area                                                                               

www.dementia.org.au

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Media contacts: Peta Leveritt-Baker, Manager Media and Communications, 0435 532 214 or [email protected]

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines.