Dementia is an issue of global concern, but stigma is still significant

 

Mrs Mok insisted accompanying her husband, who is living with dementia, to join the tea gathering with friends, even though she has been told that it is meaningless to her husband as he has already lost the ability to eat. Her husband would also be being stared by the public owing to his involuntary body movement. Mrs Mok expressed that “eating is not the focus, the social interaction is. My husband should not be neglected by friends or isolated from the society.”

Alzheimer’s Disease International conducted the world’s largest survey on attitudes to dementia and results were released in the World Alzheimer Report 2019, which revealed that misunderstanding and stigma of dementia is still significant. Hong Kong Alzheimer’s Disease Association compared findings with local figures, similar results were found:

Alzheimer’s Disease International conducted the world’s largest survey on attitudes to dementia and results were released in the World Alzheimer Report 2019, which revealed that misunderstanding and stigma of dementia is still significant. Hong Kong Alzheimer’s Disease Association compared findings with local figures, similar results were found:

  • 77% of people still believe that dementia is a normal part of ageing, and global findings indicated that 62% of healthcare practitioners also shared this misconception.

  • As worried of being exploited or discriminated, 24% of people will keep their dementia a secret.

  • 41% of people consider moving to the care home is the best option for the people living with dementia, even if it violates their wishes.

  • Around 50 per cent of people living with dementia feel ignored by healthcare professionals

“Stigma is the single biggest barrier limiting people around the world from dramatically improving how they live with dementia,” says ADI’s Chief Executive Paola Barbarino. The World Alzheimer Report 2019 indicated that public education should be at the top agenda for diminishing stigma. HKADA are delighted that government inputs in increasing public awareness on dementia has been increased, but the effort should be continued to raise public understanding on the disease. HKADA’s Chairman Dr David Dai says, “The medical service should be reviewed in order to meet the needs of an aging population, and the general medical and nursing practitioners should also be equipped with solid understanding on dementia. Both family caregivers and dementia service providers should also grasp the golden period for discussing the advance care planning with the patients when they are still in the early stages of diseases.”

 

94% of local respondents agree that the conditions of the people living with dementia can be improved if social support is available. However, 66% of the respondents do not believed that there are lots to do to improve the lives of people living with dementia. This misconception revealed that, apart from doing more on raising public awareness on dementia, educating public how the lives of people living with dementia can be improved is also important.

In echoing the “Dementia Friends” campaign initiated by the Alzheimer’s Society in UK, the HKADA joined the global movement in 2017, aiming to correct people’s misconceptions of the disease. The campaign also suggests how to care and support people living with dementia in daily lives. As of today, there are over 12,000 people registered as Dementia Friends in Hong Kong. Apart from individual level, industries which are closely related to the daily living of senior citizens and people living with dementia, such as retails, catering, property management, medical, etc, are encouraged to pay more attention and respond to their needs, so as to improve the quality of living of people living with dementia and their caregivers.

<Press release>

<World Alzheimer Report 2019>

Copyright © 2019

Copyright © 2019