Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia. The below information offers only a snapshot of this disease. For more detailed information, services and support, please visit dementia.org.au/support or call the Dementia helpline on 1800 100 500.
Dementia isn’t one specific disease, it is a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It’s a broad term used to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning, and can affect thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks.
There are many types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy body disease. Dementia can affect anybody, but it is more common in those over the age of 65.
What are the early signs of dementia?
Although the early signs of dementia may not be immediately obvious, some common symptoms may include:
- Progressive and frequent memory loss
- Personality change
- Apathy and withdrawal
- Loss of ability to perform everyday tasks.
Who gets dementia?
Most people with dementia are older and it’s more common in those aged 65 and over. However, dementia can happen to anybody, even people in their 40s or 50s.
Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians.
Dementia is the leading cause of death for women.
There are an estimated 487,500 Australians living with dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 1.1 million by 2058.
There are an estimated 28,800 people with younger onset dementia, expected to rise to 29,350 people by 2028 and 41,250 people by 2058. This can include people in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
It is estimated that almost 1.6 million people in Australia are involved in the care of someone living with dementia.
Approximately 70% of people with dementia live in the community.
More than two-thirds (68.1%) of age care residents have moderate to severe cognitive impairment.
Dementia risk reduction
Being brain healthy is relevant at any age, but it is particularly important once you reach middle age as this is when changes start to occur in the brain. While we cannot change getting older, genetics or family history, scientific research suggests that changing certain health and lifestyle habits may make a big difference to reducing or delaying your risk of developing dementia.
Here are some recommendations for reducing risk for cognitive decline released by the World Health Organisation:
- Be physically active
- Stop smoking and eat a balanced diet and drink alcohol in moderation
- Do some cognitive training
- Be socially active
- Look after your weight
- Manage any hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and depression
The funds we raise go to dementia research. To date Bondi2Berry Incorporated has funded four research projects.
Dementia Australia is the national peak body for people impacted by dementia in Australia.