School children in frontline to battle dementia stigma.
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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