School children in frontline to battle dementia stigma

School children in frontline to battle dementia stigma.

dementia carer

A pilot program for young school children is demystifying dementia and aiming to remove the stigma associated with the brain illness.

Writing for ABC News, Kids4Dementia project leader Dr Jess Baker said the responses from the children studying the program “struck at our heart”.

“We cannot help but be excited at the idea that maybe, just maybe, schoolchildren could be a novel way of increasing dementia literacy in adults,” Dr Baker wrote.

The researcher said it was imperative to educate young minds about dementia before stigmas around the disease became entrenched.

Using animations and real-life videos incorporated into fun activities, the attitudes of the Year Five and Year Six students towards dementia statistically improved, said Dr Baker, who is lecturer at the UNSW Psychiatry Research and Teaching Unit.

One child thanked the program developers saying: "If you didn't do it [the program], people would probably just walk past someone with dementia."

The program teaches people what it feels like to have dementia, what causes it, what happens in a nursing home and strategies to keep brains healthy.

The philosophy behind Kids4Dementia is that today’s children will become tomorrow’s doctors, carers, shop assistants, teachers and leaders.

Educating the next generation about dementia is the grassroots for building a dementia-friendly society, according to the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration.

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    COMMENTS

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    Jenny
    21st Sep 2017
    4:01pm
    What a good idea! It can be distressing for young children to have to engage with a grandparent who is slipping into dementia, and frightening to encounter a stranger who has dementia. A basic understanding of what is happening could go a long way toward making a child much more comfortable in this situation, and this could also be of benefit to the elderly sufferer as well since the child would be much more likely to connect verbally and socially.
    Blossom
    26th Oct 2018
    5:59pm
    A lady I used to work with plays with a community band. When they play at Aged care Facilities there are some with Dementia that will clap or sing to the music. Apart from that some never talk or communicate at all. Members of the Band have been told that at quite a few Aged care Facilities - not just one.


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