Special day to put dementia in focus


THE Peninsula Dementia Action Group is holding an information session to mark World Alzheimer’s Day on Thursday 21 September.

The event in the Village Hub dining room at The Village Glen, Rosebud, is titled “Dementia in My Community”.

Dementia is a broad term which describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. The free event includes morning tea and a performance by the Village Singers Choir, 9.30am.

Alzheimer’s Victoria will present an Understanding Dementia session and people living with dementia will share their stories while a panel of health professionals will discuss dementia and answer questions.

Literature will be available so that those attending can learn about the condition and what a dementia-friendly community may look like.

Peninsula Dementia Action Group’s Gregory Pratt said the condition was the “single greatest cause of disability among older Australians and, at this point, there is no known cure”.

“It is the condition that older Australians worry about more than any other,” he said.

The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia were US$818 billion in 2015. If dementia were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy.

Not all older people get dementia. It is not a normal part of ageing. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65 years. People in their 40s and 50s can also have dementia.

“With one of the highest proportions of older residents in Australia, the Mornington Peninsula Shire has the second highest prevalence of dementia in Victoria, and this is projected to continue for the next 40 years,” Mr Pratt said.

“We are all likely to come into contact with a person living with dementia, such as a neighbour, fellow club member, person you’ve met in the street, family member or friend. Many don’t know there is community support available or how to find it.”

There are many different forms of dementia and each has its own causes. It may affect thinking, communication, memory, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Every case is unique and the symptoms and progression may present differently in sufferers.

For many families, the social network diminishes as the dementia unfolds. Alzheimer’s Victoria advises that the best way to help someone with dementia is to stay interested, stay in touch and let them know they are valued. Understanding, support and inclusion can make an enormous difference to the quality of life for families living with dementia.

Mr Pratt suggests people “learn a little about dementia”.

“People living with dementia are working hard to make sense of their world, to see through the confusion and deal with their symptoms.

“So, don’t take personally mistakes and mix-ups due to a person’s memory loss. He or she may forget your name but they retain their feelings and emotions and will remember that they like you.

“If the person with dementia appears difficult, it is not deliberate.”

For details and to RSVP call Dina Hewitt 87813400 or email d.hewitt@alfred.org.au

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 22 August 2017


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