September 2012 marks an important event in history. It is the first World Alzheimer's Awareness month, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma surrounding dementia. September 21st is World Alzheimer's Awareness Day. In addition on this day, the World Alzheimer Report 2012 was released. The data in this report is staggering:
- 36 million peopleworldwide were living with dementia in 2010, increasing to 66 million by 2030 and 115 million by 2050
- The estimated global costs of dementia in 2010 is $604 billion
- Globally, less than 1 in 4 people with dementia receive a formal diagnosis, limiting their access to care and support.
- There are misconceptions of individuals with dementia and the disease itself around the world. Stigma is present and prevent people from getting help and isolates them and their caregivers.
What can be done to reduce the stigma? I think this final quote from Prof. Myrra Vernooij-Dasseb on a video summary of the 2012 report says it well:
"One of the most important things in dealing with people with dementia is that their dignity is maintained and that they are considered as people who can give something and not people who are helpless."