Dementia is an amalgamation of several conditions associated with a gradual decline in brain function. Dementia can occur due to multiple reasons and leads to neurodegeneration causing subsequent cognitive decline. These changes affect memory, speech, behavior, cognition, mobility, etc. In Australia, it has been identified as the largest cause of death in 2017 and is expected to impact up to 550000 people by the year 2030. In 2016, it was identified as the leading cause of death in women in Australia causing about 13,729 deaths. It has been estimated that in the year 2020, about 459000 Australians are living with conditions (NATSEM 2016). According to AIHW (2019), 376000 people lived with dementia in the year 2018. The impact of dementia on Australia has been tremendous. In the year 2018, dementia cost about 15 billion dollars that are further subjected to rise to more than 18.7 billion by 2025 (Dementia Australia 2020).
It has been elucidated that health literacy and cognitive impairment in the elderly are related to a directional relationship. “Dementia literacy” is defined as the availability of knowledge associated with dementia that assists in the recognition, management, and prevention of the health condition (Zhi 2020). Higher levels of education and occupation exposure in young adulthood are the basis of “cognitive reserve” and are found to be protective against dementia. Further, health literacy also impacts the care provided to people suffering from dementia. Caregivers in dementia are largely family members and friends.
Therefore, the literacy of the caregiver for dementia allows for the understanding of the degree to which they can understand the illness and provide suitable care. According to Annear et al. (2020), the knowledge of dementia across different domains of health workers in Australia is highly variable. Lack of adequate knowledge is indicative that the patients might be receiving consistent and best evidence care in Australia. Even though the needs of every patient with dementia may vary, and person-centered care is therefore highly suitable. The primary needs of dementia parents can be generalized that include assistance with everyday activities like eating and walking, the need for emotional support and constant care, and management of sleep and behavior for effective management of the condition.
It is crucial to achieving a community where people with dementia are empowered so that they can effectively manage their condition and are motivated towards health promotion. This can be done by building partnerships (Briggs et al. 2019). A social change requires a collective approach where the communities, government, NGO, etc. can collaborate and participate and help in building an inclusive community for people living with this health condition. Communities also play a highly important role as they assist in the building of the social environment that can address the needs of people with dementia and provide them adequate support. The organizations should also ensure that they drive a change by challenging social stigma and assist in the building of an inclusive community.
AIHW. 2019. “Dementia” [online]. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/health-conditions-disability-deaths/dementia/overview [Accessed on: 5/05/2020]
Annear, M.J. 2020. “Knowledge of dementia among the Australian health workforce: A national online survey”. Journal of Applied Gerontology, vol. 39 no. 1, pp.62-73.
Bello, A.O., Baiyewu, O., Aina, F.O. and Adeosun, I.I.2017. “Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia in Nigerian hospital patients: Prevalence, correlates and caregiver burden”. International Neuropsychiatric Disease Journal vol.24, no. 5, pp.1-11.
Biggs, S., Carr, A. and Haapala, I., 2019. “Dementia as a source of social disadvantage and exclusion”. Australasian Journal on Ageing, Vol. 38, pp.26-33.
Dementia Australia. 2020. “Dementia statistics” [online]. Available at: https://www.dementia.org.au/statistics [Accessed on: 5/05/2020]
NATSEM. 2016. “Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016–2056” [online]. Available at: https://www.dementia.org.au/dementia-news/issue-07/economic-cost-of-dementia [Accessed on: 5/05/2020]
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