Dementia stigma cause for concern

Font Size:

According to a new report from Alzheimer’s Australia WA, the stigma attached to dementia is the number one concern for people who live with this condition.

Rhonda Parker, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Alzheimer’s Australia WA, believes that this stigma is born from a lack of education.

“The single biggest issue that was identified in the consultation was around stigma,” said Ms Parker. “The people we spoke to said it affects the way people engage with them and even allow them to participate in community life.”

Ms Parker claims that this particular study marks the first time research has been undertaken via genuine conversations with those who suffer from the disease. Around 300 people living with dementia were interviewed, and the results were based on their personal experience with the disease.

The report, which was funded by the Western Australian State Government, also highlights the various challenges that dementia sufferers face each day. There are an estimated 342,800 Australians who have dementia, around 32,000 of which live in WA – and these numbers are predicted to rise along with our ageing population.

A range of community programs are being developed and tested in WA in order to better understand the needs of people living with dementia. One such community is conducting an audit of the physical space to ensure it meets the needs of people with dementia.

Currently, around 70 per cent of people who live with dementia reside at home of which 30 per cent live by themselves. Researchers believe that in order to reduce the strain on future health spending, we need to find ways to assist patients with dementia to live in their own homes for longer.

“This is what people with dementia want, they want to be able to stay at home,” said the Mayor of Wanneroo, Tracey Roberts. “The people in the community, especially in service providing jobs, need to be educated on how they can communicate and support people with dementia.”

Ms Roberts also believes that the most important aspect of dealing with dementia is community awareness and better knowledge of the disease and its related issues. She hopes that these initiatives will help to do just that.

“With that knowledge comes respect,” she said.


Have you had any first-hand dealings with someone who lives with dementia? If so, how do you interact with them? Do you have any advice for our members on how best to assist people living with dementia?

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 8
  1. 0

    If there is stigma attached to people with Dementia, this is absolutely disgraceful. Through no fault of their own, they have to live with this horrendous disease and need all the support and compassion possible. I have an aunt who has had to be put in a Nursing home because of this, and she hates it! But there was no choice as she cannot look after herself. The family have banded together and organised a sort of roster, so one of us will take her out most days for a meal, hairdresser, etc, and I have become closer to my aunt because of this. But it is so sad to see a former intelligent, fun-loving woman deteriorate so rapidly. Let’s hope a cure wont be too long coming.

  2. 0

    I have known two women with dementia in my life. Both were financially abused.I did anything I could but was helpless. This is why we need to find a cure.

  3. 0

    Both my parents had dementia. They both went onto care, but not until they were 90 and physically frail as well. My mother would say (even before she went into care) “I wish I could wake up dead…” One of the best resources I have read subsequently to their deaths is, Andrews, June. “Dementia: The one stop guide: Practical advice for families, professionals, and people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.” I downloaded this from Amazon onto my Kindle but it is available in hard copy.
    If I ever get dementia I will euthanise myself before it is too late, as have no wish to suffer the way my parents did both physically and mentally. For me it’s not about the stigma, but the suffering. Early onset dementia is an even greater nightmare for the sufferer and their families.

  4. 0

    Without making the subject any more stigmatised than it has always been…….Dementia is not a problem for me…….its the perfect excuse for when I forget a Birthday or name etc.. etc…
    It is more of a bugger but though for when you cannot remember things and you forgot to right it down……or perhaps you did but can’t remember where you put it!!!
    Dementia is just like any other illness….it is a label or heading only!!
    People need to understand….just as there are many different types of cancers….so too are there many different types & forms of dementia!!!
    Unfortunately……Chemo does not help either!!!!
    When I am finally Senile……I’ll deny it……simply because I won’t be able to remember that I have it!!!!
    Current tests show up negative…..but still the short-term memory has gone Walkabout far too often for my liking!!!
    Both daughters laughed their heads off when I told them about the CT Scan etc……stating that they had always known something wasn’t quite right up there!!!! LOL…he he hah ha!!!!
    Kids……even grown ones…fail to realise ……what goes round ….comes around……and so too will their turn at old age!!!

  5. 0

    Not being to recognise your family, must be the worst kind of hell, and if I’m diagnosed with this disease, I want to choose euthanasia, but sadly, many doctors, governments have made it a crime!!! Perhaps I could use my super to fly to Switzerland to the Dignitas clinic, and have a peaceful, dignified death! Worth considering!

    • 0

      Dear Blondie
      Suicide is not a crime. The huge amount of paper work Dignitas require plus the huge cost plus the fact you might not feel well enough to travel that far makes joining Exit International the right choice. I am not going to permit doctors or the government to tell me whether can die or not. My body, my choice.
      With love

  6. 0

    My mum lived with dementia, if you could call the final five years living. To us it seemed like a living death those final years.
    You asked for advice for people living with dementia? In the early stages, when they are able to be communicated with, take yourself back to where they are, don’t try to drag them up to your timeline. Talk with them. Hug them. Love them. These are all things that become so much more difficult as the disease progresses. Then when the disease progresses, try hand massages, foot massages, and music. All the time music. My beautiful quiet mum became a loud accusing monster some days and it was so hard to remember how she used to be; it became difficult to remember that it was the disease talking and not her. Keep the precious memories close in all dealings with your loved ones, it does help on those days when they are a completely different person.
    Look after your own health. If you need a break from the nursing home for a couple of days; a week; take it. The time spent with your loved one is meaningless if you are exhausted, ill or empty.
    I also would choose euthanasia over my darling mum’s final years when she was confined to bed unable to move, communicate or do anything for herself or remember any of her beloved family.
    In the meantime? I am trying to live each day to its fullest, making memories with my family and friends while I can and while I remember those memories. Life is short, enjoy and LIVE!!



continue reading


How to … fall back asleep

Waking up at night and struggling to get back to sleep can be stressful and exhausting. According to WebMB, around...


Curing the incurable: Why some patients make astounding recoveries

As a GP and someone who works in the holistic health field, Dr Jerry Thompson has long been interested in...


The 'ism' that's rife and no, it's not okay

Ageism, like all 'isms', creates a social hierarchy and disadvantages people based on an aspect of their diversity. Compared to...


When conversations become a competition

Australia has a well-deserved reputation for being a very competitive nation on the world stage. Perhaps it dates back to...


Wakey wakey - a history of alarm clocks

Matthew S. Champion, Australian Catholic University Australians are returning to our normal rhythms. The first beats of the day are...


The top-selling-souvenir from every country in the world

Do you buy souvenirs to remember your overseas holidays? If so, we imagine you have been looking at these very...


ACCC to keep a keen eye on travel issues this year

Australia's consumer watchdog expects to have its hands busy dealing with COVID-affected travel complaints this year. In his annual address...


Cruisers turn to superyachts to satisfy their cruise cravings

Typically, Australia is one of, if not, the biggest cruise market in the world. It wasn't so long ago that...