Most adults believe there are still too many misconceptions about dementia

Eight in 10 adults believe dementia is still misunderstood, according to research.

A poll of 2,000 Brits found despite it being an increasingly common condition, misconceptions remain because of a lack of knowledge, or because people feel there is a certain embarrassment around it.

Nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) believe it's a subject which is not talked about enough in society - with 73 per cent putting this down to being uninformed.

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Only 48 per cent are aware it can cause affect a person’s personality, and 73 per cent associate it with memory loss.

Exactly six in 10 say they weren’t aware those living with dementia could appear to develop a lack of social awareness, while 89 per cent admit they don't know it can also affect dietary preferences.

When quizzed on the dementia symptoms people would be most comfortable discussing, making changes that go against their lifelong beliefs (23 per cent), loss of inhibitions (23 per cent) or expressing sexual interest more openly (15 per cent) featured on the list.

The research was commissioned by Care UK, which has launched ‘The Big Dementia Conversation’ in a bid to encourage people to talk more frequently about the condition.

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The care providers will be hosting free, public events to help local communities understand more about living well with the dementia and offer a safe space to talk.

Suzanne Mumford, head of nursing, care and dementia for Care UK, said: “While much has been done in the way of raising awareness of dementia, there are still a lot of things people don’t know or aren’t comfortable talking about – especially when it comes to how a person behaves, which is often linked to a change in perception.

“Many families expect their loved ones to be a bit different once the condition starts progressing, but very few are prepared for some of the more unusual personality changes. For example, it’s not uncommon for people’s tastes and preferences to change."

More knowledge about the condition

The biggest misconception Brits feel about dementia is that it only affects people in their 60s or above (36 per cent) - with others including that it is always associated with memory loss (23 per cent) and that it can be cured (13 per cent).

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As a result of these misbeliefs, 57 per cent would like to know more about the available support and care. While 50 per cent would be interested to learn more about the timeframes of the illness and how long it takes to fully develop.

It also emerged only one in 10 claim to be 'very familiar' with signs that someone may be experiencing dementia.

The research found 31 per cent would be more willing to talk about their finances than potential dementia, according to the figures. While 24 per cent would prefer to discuss their general mental health, and 23 per cent would rather chat about relationship issues.

And while 61 per cent think conversations around mental health have become more mainstream in recent years, only 21 per cent feel the same about dementia.

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Suzanne Mumford added: “Dementia affects millions of lives - not just those diagnosed, but also their families and friends. This is why we believe supporting families and carers is just as essential as supporting the person living with dementia, and by talking openly about it we can reduce stigma and create a supportive community.

"Supporting people with dementia requires a societal challenge; not just for older people, but for everyone. We need to start the conversation and talk about it openly to take action to build a more compassionate and inclusive world for all.

"We’d like to encourage people across the country to visit their nearest care home or attend one of our events to find out more about the condition."

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