Sharon Bird today attended Alzheimer’s Australia’s Illawarra Public Forum – Still Dementia in a Changing World – as part of Dementia Awareness Month which is an annual awareness raising event held in September each year and aims to focus people with dementia, carers, media and the general public on dementia by sharing facts, dispelling myths and highlighting the support that is available through Alzheimer’s Australia.
People living with dementia are twice as likely to experience loneliness compared to the general public – that is one of the key messages being promoted as part of Dementia Awareness Month 2016.
Dementia Awareness Month runs through September to improve awareness and understanding about dementia in the Australian community.
The theme of Dementia Awareness Month 2016 is ‘You are not alone’ and draws on the release of new research indicating that people living with dementia and their carers are among the loneliest in the country.
There are over 350,000 Australians living with dementia and more than 1,800 new cases of dementia in Australia each week – it is not a future issue, it is here and now.
Dementia is impacting a growing number of people in the Illawarra, whether it is our loved ones, our neighbours, our friends or ourselves.
Sharon Bird said that many people in the Illawarra were affected by dementia.
“Alzheimer’s Australia has had great local campaigners in the Illawarra like Val Fell and Tom Ward who have campaigned to raise awareness for many years,” Sharon Bird said.
“They have been instrumental in organising event such as forums and the Memory Walk to raise awareness about dementia.
“Everyone has a story of a friend or a family member who has been affected by dementia.
Sadly the diagnosis of dementia goes hand-in-hand with stigmas, social isolation and exclusion.
Six in 10 people admit they know very little about dementia and as many as one on four find people with dementia frightening.
Dementia Awareness Month is the perfect time to help break the stigma.
Everyone can take up the challenge to find out more about dementia and help to break down the stigma and misunderstanding associated with the condition.
We need to look past the symptoms of dementia and create communities where people living with dementia, their families and carers feel supported, empowered and included in society.
Labor is a big supporter of Dementia Awareness Month and is calling on the Turnbull Liberal Government to show leadership in creating a dementia-friendly nation.
Visit www.fightdementia.org.auto find out about Dementia Awareness Month.
For information, advice and support call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.