How many of you, particularly those aged 55 and older, think that dementia is inevitable? Dementia consists of a group of diseases effecting the brain, like Alzheimer’s Disease, that tend to progress as one ages. But, to answer the question, no, dementia is NOT inevitable. Tonight, the Perpetual Notion Machine looks into some of these misperceptions with our guest Nathaniel Chin. Nathaniel studies and treats dementia as part of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. He is also Medical Director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
According to Nathaniel, as of today, only about 14% have been diagnosed with a type of dementia. But much of the discussion centers on a pair of surveys coming from AARP. In one survey about 3,000 adults age 40 and older answered questions about what they know and their feelings toward dementia. A second survey asked similar questions to only healthcare providers about their patients. Surprisingly, there seemed to be some misconceptions of dementia between the adults and the healthcare providers answers. For instance, only 19% of adults responded that they would feel ashamed or embarrassed if diagnosed with dementia. Of the healthcare providers, 69% thought their patients would feel ashamed or embarrassed. Nathaniel adds context to this and other results from the surveys, and to the perceived stigma of dementia.
Also, for those interested in the background to the AARP research surveys, click the link AARP Perceptions About Dementia. This article also contains links to the results of each survey.
For more information about dementia, check out the CDC’s What is Dementia? and the Mayo Clinic’s Dementia webpage.
And finally, Nathaniel has his own podcast called Dementia Matters.
Image Courtesy: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay