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Results from the world’s largest survey on attitudes to dementia highlight a shocking lack of global knowledge surrounding dementia, with one-third of respondents stating that if they had dementia, they feel as though they would not be listened to by healthcare professionals.

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), an international organisation of 100 Alzheimer’s associations and organisations around the world, unveiled the report – World Alzheimer Report 2019: Attitudes to dementia – to mark World Alzheimer’s Day on the 21st of September.

The report reveals the results of the largest attitudes to dementia survey ever undertaken, with responses from almost 70,000 people across 155 countries and territories. Analysis of the study was carried out by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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The report reveals that stigma around dementia is preventing people from seeking the information, advice, support and medical help that could significantly improve their length and quality of life.

“Stigma is the single biggest barrier limiting people around the world from dramatically improving how they live with dementia,” said ADI’s Chief Executive Paola Barbarino. “The consequences of stigma are therefore incredibly important to understand.

“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. At the societal level, structural stigma and discrimination can influence levels of funding allocated to care and support.”

The report finds that over 50 percent of healthcare professionals agree that their own colleagues ignore people living with dementia and 33 percent of people thought that if they had dementia, they would not be listened to by healthcare professionals.

Additionally, two in three people think that dementia is a normal part of ageing alongside 62 percent of healthcare professionals who also feel dementia is a normal part of ageing.

Forty-eight percent of respondents believe a person with dementia’s memory will never improve, even with medical support, while one in four people think there is nothing that can be done to prevent dementia.

ADI launched its global campaign, ‘Let’s Talk About Dementia’, on the 1st of September 2019 to mark the beginning of the month of awareness. The campaign is based on the understanding that talking about dementia helps tackle the stigma, normalises language and encourages people to find out more, seek help, advice and support.

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