Dementia can be many things: overwhelming, frightening, concerning and confusing. Whether you’re a sufferer or a caregiver, it’s a disease that affects everyone in different ways.
And despite its prevalence, a new study found that two-thirds of people think dementia is a normal part of aging, rather than a medical condition.
About 70,000 people from 155 countries were surveyed about their knowledge of dementia for the study, which was commissioned by Alzheimer’s Disease International.
Despite educational efforts of dementia-related organizations, misconceptions about the disorder run rampant, the study found.
Ninety-five percent of respondents reported that they expect to develop dementia in their lifetime. This suggests that the overwhelming majority of people consider this physiological disorder inevitable.
“While age is a risk factor, dementia is not a normal part of aging, and there is no cure for this progressive illness,” said Maree McCabe CEO of Dementia Australia.
These misconceptions, officials say, can lead to discrimination and a sense of hopelessness about dementia.
Those living with dementia who participated in the study said overwhelmingly (85%) that they feel their opinions are not taken seriously.
Overall, the study suggests that beating dementia is a cultural effort, not just a scientific one.