Only one in five callers to National Helpline are men

Men with a diagnosis of dementia or men who are caring for a person with dementia could be missing out on vital support and information as figures show that only one in five callers to the National Dementia Helpline are men.

Figures compiled by Alzheimer’s Australia, which provides the free National Dementia Helpline service, show that, in addition to 78 per cent of total callers to the service being female, there are almost four times as many daughters ringing the Helpline as sons, and almost three times as many female partners than male partners calling.

The National Dementia Helpline, funded by the Federal Government, is an information and support telephone, email and web-based voice call service available across Australia for people with dementia, their carers, families and friends, health and aged care professionals, or people who are concerned about their own, or a loved one’s, cognitive decline.

Alzheimer’s Australia NSW CEO The Hon. John Watkins AM said that with an estimated 70 per cent of people with dementia living in the community, there are many men who are either caring for a partner, spouse, parent, friend or sibling, or who are living with a diagnosis themselves, who may not be getting access to all the support and resources they need.

“Managing dementia is not easy,” Mr Watkins said.

“But a phone call could really make all the difference. Our trained and professional staff can provide you with a wealth of information and access to a range of support services, no matter where you live across NSW.

“Our staff are available to talk to you either over the phone, on email or via the web-based video chat and voice call service Skype.

“Take action and call today to access a range of information and support programs for managing what can be a very tough, challenging and, at times, lonely journey.”

Trevor Crosby has dementia and said while it was a confronting and very difficult diagnosis to deal with, being able to access information and resources and attend educational programs has helped him manage his condition in a much more positive and productive way.

“Thanks to the information and support from the people at Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, my life has changed from very negative to mostly positive,” Mr Crosby said.

“There is no doubt about it – there is no getting away from dementia. It is a cruel, ugly killer. And the lack of understanding of it in the community is very frustrating.

“I confront dementia by speaking out about the diagnosis and by filling my life with activities I enjoy and family and friends I love. A full and happy life means there is no time to dwell on the dementia-related negatives. My life is richer due to this line of action - richer than it was before my diagnosis.”

Barry Freeman, whose wife Joan has younger onset dementia, said it can be a tough journey to walk alone.

“I thought I could do it on my own, but found that once I accessed information about what was happening and what was going to happen, I really was able to manage a whole lot better,” Mr Freeman said.

“I have also found the people that I met through the education we both did at Alzheimer’s Australia NSW an invaluable support for us both.”

Of the estimated 353,800 people with dementia in Australia, about 60 per cent are women.

The National Dementia Helpline operates Monday – Friday, from 9am to 5pm, excluding public holidays. It can be contacted on 1800 100 500 or by email on helpline.nsw@dementia.org.au.