NEARLY three in four people wrongly think dementia is a normal part of ageing — and almost as many medics agree.
Seventy per cent of the public and 62 per cent of health professionals believe the illness is just a part of getting older, a study says.
Two in three Brits believe sufferers are impulsive and unpredictable and four in ten nurses and doctors have seen other medical staff ignore dementia patients because they do not think they can help them, researchers found.
It means many with the brain-wasting disease — which is preventable in a third of cases with lifestyles changes — feel stigmatised.
Alzheimer’s Society boss Jeremy Hughes said: “Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. It’s horrifying to hear that so many who have it are still experiencing terrible stigma as they simply try to get on with their daily lives.”
“To find that so many UK healthcare professionals agree those in their profession are ignoring vulnerable people with dementia and that only half believe competent practitioners exist in this area when they should be their mainstay of support, is deeply concerning.”
The Alzheimer’s Disease International study involved 70,000 people in 155 countries. Boss Paola Barbarino said: “Stigma is the single biggest barrier limiting people around the world from dramatically improving how they live with dementia.”
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“At the individual level, stigma can undermine life goals and reduce participation in meaningful life activities as well as lower levels of well-being and quality of life.”
There is currently no cure for the disease, although some drugs can limit the symptoms.
Being physically active and having a healthy diet has also been shown to protect against it.
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