Stigma and negative attitudes towards dementia continue to persist: Study

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Over the last few years there has been an increase in awareness about dementia, but that hasn’t helped to deter stigma and negative attitudes towards the mental disorder, said the Alzheimer Society citing a new survey.

According to the Society, the survey that involved online responses from 1500 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 65, almost 50 per cent of Canadian wouldn’t want others to know if they suffered from dementia. The survey also found that nearly half of all respondents said they would feel embarrassed if they suffered from dementia and nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) believed they would suffer from some form of discrimination if they suffered from this disorder.

58 per cent of Canadians also believe that people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia are likely to be ignored or dismissed; 57 per cent believe the patients will be taken advantage of; while 56 per cent believed that dementia sufferers will have difficulty accessing appropriate services or supports.

The findings don’t stop there with 25 per cent Canadians believing that their friends and family would avoid them if they were diagnosed with dementia, and only five per cent of Canadians would learn more about dementia if a family member, friend or co-worker were diagnosed.

56 per cent of Canadians are concerned about being affected by Alzheimer’s disease with the greatest concern being a burden to others, losing their independence and the inability to recognize family and friends.

If we look at some quick facts, over half a million Canadians have dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease); and in less than 15 years, an estimated 937,000 Canadians will have dementia.

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