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Dementia myths busted by new research

4 November 2015

Dementia myths busted by new research

While a majority of respondents are fearful of the disease, Dementia remains misunderstood

Ahead of the New Zealand Dementia Summit which opens in Wellington on Thursday, independent research commissioned by health and care provider Bupa shows New Zealanders are concerned about a condition they don’t fully understand.

Dementia can be a disabling condition characterised by memory loss and sudden personality changes, and 41 per cent of those surveyed stated they are fearful at the prospect of dementia[1]. Yet just 50 per cent of respondents are unaware that people living with dementia live long, fulfilling lives[2]. It is only in the later stages that dementia can become really challenging.

Bupa New Zealand managing director Gráinne Moss says the research highlights gaps in understanding and that Bupa wants to improve public knowledge of the condition.

“We are committed to shaping global dementia care and having people living with dementia lead happier lives, for as long as they can. We have joined forces with other care organisations to outline, for the very first time, what we believe are the rights of people living with dementia, wherever they are in the world.”

Widespread perceptions of the condition appear to not match reality, with more than half (53 per cent) of respondents having never had a close friend or family member live with dementia[3] and therefore probably fearing it much more than they should.

As the largest international provider of specialist dementia care, Bupa and its partners Alzheimers New Zealand and Carers New Zealand will share knowledge at the Dementia Summit (5-6 November, Te Papa, Wellington) to ensure people living with dementia are able to live well and that family and friends are properly supported.

Bupa provides a number of resources and initiatives to help Kiwis better understand the illness and those suffering from it. It is sponsoring “The Keys are in the Margarine”, a play which brings together the disparate perspectives of medicine and art, giving voice to the experiences of people living with dementia. The Talking House play is on at Bats Theatre from 11-14 November in Wellington.

“The Keys are in the Margarine gives a voice to people living with dementia, and as New Zealand’s largest provider of dementia care, we know the importance of promoting awareness and understanding of dementia,” says Moss.

For more information about dementia and support services available, visit the Bupa website and view the Global Dementia Charter video, which mandates actions and accountabilities that care providers, society and governments can do to improve understanding and support of those living with dementia. The resource has been written for and endorsed by people living with the condition:

[1] Perceptive Research survey of 1000 people in New Zealand, July 2015

2 Perceptive Research survey of 1000 people in New Zealand, July 2015

3 Perceptive Research survey of 1000 people in New Zealand, July 2015


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