Survey highlights need for greater understanding of dementia issues

22-Nov-2017 7:00 AM

[Embargoed until 10am, November, 22, 2017] One in three Victorians feel uncomfortable in talking with people living with dementia, according to a national phone survey released today by leading aged care provider, HammondCare.

In announcing the release of the survey addressing dementia and public awareness, HammondCare General Manager of Residential Care, Angela Raguz said a lack of knowledge and concerns about understanding dementia were the main reasons behind people feeling uncomfortable.

“The gaps in understanding are largely attributable to people not knowing enough about dementia. Most people recognise memory loss as a specific symptom of dementia, but beyond this there is a marked decline in their understanding,” Ms Raguz said.

Speaking at the start of construction for  HammondCare’s  $25 million dementia care village in Caulfield, in Melbourne’s south-east, Ms Raguz said awareness about the broad range of challenges faced by people living with dementia, was fundamental to good aged care design and also for public spaces.

“Good design in aged care and general public spaces for people living with dementia is based around understanding the many and diverse challenges people living with dementia face like hypersensitivity to noise, disorientation and reduced spatial awareness,” Ms Raguz said.

 “The design elements to be used at HammondCare Caulfield Dementia Care Village take into account these many challenges, and provide cottages, each built like a home with its own kitchen, with access to outdoors, and with an emphasis on reducing noise.”

The HammondCare Caulfield Dementia Care Village will include six cottages, sharing a community garden, providing 80 individual rooms for people living with dementia. It will include a supermarket and workshop areas and be operational by early 2019.

Ms Raguz said the results of the phone survey highlight there is still a long way to go in educating the community about dementia and what it means for people living with dementia.

The survey shows that lack of understanding was particularly noticeable with young people, with over a quarter of people aged 18-24 saying they are afraid of talking to someone with dementia.
Other findings of the survey include:
  • 28% of people surveyed said they did not know anyone with dementia.
  • 32% said they feel uncomfortable or very uncomfortable in talking to people with dementia.
  • there is less understanding about dementia symptoms amongst males.
Latest figures show that 95,000 people currently live with dementia in Victoria and this figure is expected to triple to 386,000 people by 2050.*

*NATSEM University of Canberra Jan 2016

Media Inquiries: For more information, please contact HammondCare: Nikki Cripps media@hammond.com.au on 02 9268 6758.

About the survey: a national phone poll conducted by Antenna over a 24 hour period in September 2017, interviewing 1000 people nationally aged between 18 and 65+.

About HammondCare: HammondCare is an independent Christian charity specialising in health and aged care, with a particular emphasis on dementia care and palliative care.