Dementia Action Week focuses on discrimination

11th September 2019

Inverell residents are being urged to consider how discrimination impacts local people living with dementia.

Dementia Action Week will begin on Monday, September 16 focused heavily this year around the theme 'dementia doesn't discriminate'.

Inverell Home Support Program Dementia and Carer Support coordinator Sandy Jeffrey encouraged locals to educate themselves more about the disease.

"Nobody chooses to have dementia but we can choose how we respond to the people in our lives, and community, who are living with dementia. There is still quite a stigma surrounding the disease," she said.

Sandy has found a lack of understanding can lead to people feeling awkward and assumptions being made about the persons capability.

In the past she's found friends and family might stop calling around or inviting the person with dementia to social occasions or events.

"Not out of deliberate neglect but because they don't know how to include them. Also the person with dementia can be ignored or dismissed in conversation.

"Sometimes without realising people may talk to a carer as if the person is not even there, but they have to remember they're still a person with feelings."

In a bid to further educate the community a dementia memory van will be parked in front of The Premier Store on Thursday, September 19 from 9am until 4pm.

Accompanied by an educator from Dementia Australia, Sandy will be on deck to provide information and advice for free.

"There are a lot of myths surrounding dementia. We'll have lots of information we can give and we can talk to people if they need advice or are concerned about a friend or family."

Dementia Australia will launch a survey in relation to discrimination on its website in conjunction with Dementia Action Week. The anonymous survey is open and free for anyone to fill out.

According to national statistics, in 2019, there is an estimated 447,115 Australians living with dementia.

It is the second leading cause of death nationally. Currently an estimated 250 people are diagnosed with dementia each day.

By Laini Kirkman, first appeared in The Inverell Times, September 11th 2019


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