The theme for this year’s Dementia Action Week – Monday, September 20 – Sunday September 26 – is ‘A little support makes a big difference’.
The national awareness raising campaign will continue to lead the discussion about discrimination and dementia.
The challenge to all Australians is to increase their understanding about dementia and how they can make a difference to the lives of people around them who are impacted – and help to eliminate discrimination.
Dementia Australia CEO, Maree McCabe AM said that during Dementia Action Week her organisation will share information and tips to show the many meaningful ways a little support makes a big difference to the everyday experience of people living with dementia and their carers.
“Once a person is diagnosed there is a common perception that they have a complete loss of function and independence, when there is a wealth of evidence that shows people living with dementia, with good support, can live active and fulfilling lives for many years,” McCabe said.
“Our research shows that people living with dementia and carers experience discrimination that can lead to social isolation, loneliness and poor mental health.
“People living with dementia report that social invitations and inclusion start to dwindle.
“Carers report feeling they no longer have the support of family or friends when the reality is often people close to them withdraw not knowing how to help or not wanting to intrude.
McCabe said that often the ‘discriminatory’ behaviour is unintended and rather a result of a lack of awareness and understanding about dementia.
“The restrictions and lockdowns of COVID-19 have exacerbated these experiences for people living with dementia and carers,” she said.
“We need to change this experience for people impacted by dementia and Dementia Action Week is one way to start inspiring the community to act and to learn more – to understand how their words, behaviour and responses can make a difference to the lives of people living dementia and carers.”
The theme for Dementia Action Week was developed in consultation with dementia advocates, who have a lived experience of dementia.
A number of Dementia Advocates will appear in national television and digital advertising as well as sharing their experiences to help others in social and traditional media.
“I thank all the Dementia Advocates who have contributed to the development of this campaign and for continuing to make a difference to the lives of the almost half a million Australians living with dementia and the 1.6 million people involved in their care,” McCabe said.
Organisations, partners and supporters are encouraged to click here to register their interest to receive a digital kit and further information about Dementia Action Week 2021.
Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated half a million Australians living with dementia, and the almost 1.6 million people involved in their care.
The organisation advocates for positive change and supports vital research and people impacted by dementia, enabling them to live as well as possible.
You can call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500, an interpreter service is available and the Helpline is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays.
Click here for more information.