5 Myths About Dementia & Alzheimer’s Dispelled
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently around 850,000 people living with Dementia here in the UK. This number is expected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. Worldwide it is estimated that 54 million people are living with dementia across the globe, with around 9.9 million people developing dementia worldwide every year.
With forecasts showing that this number will rise in coming years in line with longer lifespans, it’s now more important than ever that we all do our best to understand what dementia and Alzheimer’s are, how these conditions affect individuals, and how best we can support them in our communities.
Dementia & Alzheimer’s Myths
In this article, we’ll tackle 5 common myths about dementia and Alzheimer’s and look at the facts in response. Our hope is that, by talking more on this subject and sharing more information, we can help individuals coping with a dementia diagnosis better understand the condition and how to deal with it.
Dementia Is A Normal Part Of Aging
The misconception that dementia is a normal part of ageing is a common one. But it is not true.
Changes in memory are a normal part of ageing. For example, some people may become more forgetful or need more time to recall information as they pass middle age. However, these common signs of ageing aren’t necessarily an early sign of dementia.
Generally, age-associated memory impairment will not noticeably disrupt everyday life. Unlike dementia, which will gradually begin to affect a person’s daily life and their ability to recall information (such as names and the day’s events).
Alzheimer’s And Dementia Are The Same Things
The terms Alzheimer’s and dementia are sometimes used interchangeably, however, they aren’t the same thing. Dementia describes different brain disorders that trigger a loss of brain function. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia, and also the most common, which is why they often go hand in hand when you read about them.
There are, however, other types of dementia including vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy bodies.
Dementia Is Passed On Genetically
This is a common myth which is often the cause of great anxiety for many, including those diagnosed with dementia and their children.
While there is a genetic component to some types of dementia, in most cases the link is not strong. Therefore, if your parent or grandparent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, for example, there is no cast-iron guarantee that you will develop the same condition later on in life.
Dementia Only Affects Elderly People
There are a number of risk factors which can lead to a dementia diagnosis, and age is one of them. However, that doesn’t mean that dementia only affects older adults.
In the UK, there are over 42,000 people under 65 living with dementia.
Young-onset dementia most often affects those between the ages of 30-65 and is rare, but not impossible.
Dementia is Preventable/Inevitable
There are two sides of the coin to this myth. While some people think that the onset of dementia is inevitable as a normal part of ageing or through genetics (both untrue), others may believe or be told that dementia is always preventable.
There are factors which can increase or reduce the risk of developing a certain type of dementia. However, there is no guarantee that doing (or not doing) these things will lead to dementia or not.
Currently, there are 12 identified modifiable factors that are thought to increase the risk of dementia. These are lower education status, hypertension, hearing impairment, smoking, obesity, depression, physical activity, diabetes, low levels of social contact, alcohol consumption, traumatic brain injury and air pollution.
Specialist Dementia Care at Lovett Care
At Lovett Care, we understand that being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other kind of dementia is difficult for individuals and their loved ones. We hope that the above information goes some way to allaying any fears you may have and to help you better understand what you are facing.
Many people also believe that people with dementia can’t live well. This is another myth. Here at Lovett Care, we provide specialist dementia care to individuals living with the condition in wonderful surroundings. Through a dedicated care plan, we do everything in our power to preserve the physical and mental wellbeing of residents living with dementia, and through regular dementia training, we ensure all of our staff are able to deliver personalised, effective dementia care.