People with dementia are almost twice as likely to have high rates of loneliness compared to the general public, a new survey has found.
The research was conducted by Alzheimer’s Australia as part of Dementia Awareness Month to encourage a greater awareness and understanding of the condition.
In the Dubbo state electorate, there are an estimated 1,228 people living with dementia, which is expected to jump to 2,451 in 2050.
Dee Gavin from Dubbo Catholic Community Services coordinates in-home dementia respite in Dubbo, as well as the Home Club- a day centre with coordinated activities to provide socialisation and stimulation for those with dementia.
Ms Gavin said she had seen the difference the programs made to someone with the condition.
“We see them come out of their shells and they’re a lot closer to what they were before,” she said.
Dubbo Catholic Community Services dementia counsellor Kath Readford agreed.
“If they have a reason for being there and they’re doing something, it raises their self-esteem,” she said.
Across NSW, there is an estimated 115,000 people living with Dementia, which is expected to grow to 128,500 by 2020 and to 272,000 by 2050.
The survey also found people with dementia were more than twice as likely not to see any friends and were more than three times likely not to have a confidant.
They were also almost three times as likely not to have a friend to call for help than the general public.
Ms Gavin, Ms Readford and Alzheimer’s Australia NSW project officer Jenny Roberts assist those with Dementia and their carers to find the support and services they need in Dubbo.
Ms Roberts said she hoped the month would also raise awareness of the signs of dementia.
She said often people thought memory loss was the first sign, but difficulty finding the right word, such as a name, or trouble with eyesight could also be indicators.
World Dementia Month runs for all of September. This year’s theme is ‘you are not alone’ to encourage people with dementia and their carers to reach out for support.
About 1.2 million people are involved in the care of someone with dementia, according to Alzheimer’s Australia.
For anyone in need of advice the National Dementia Helpline can be reached on 1800 100 500.