Younger Onset Dementia - a Scary Subject

September 26, 2018

 

Back in March, I read an article in Singapore’s The Strait Times that was part of International Womens' Day, about a young woman, Melissa Chan, and her experience beginning as a 14 year old, with her father’s younger-onset dementia.

 

As a result of her experience, Melissa started Social Enterprise Project We Forget.

 

Now aged 28, she said that her biggest struggle at the time was not understanding the disease, or why it was stealing her father away.

 

When her dad eventually forgot who Ms Chan was, she even began to doubt her self-worth.

 

"I wondered if I was not good enough to be remembered.  A lot of

questions ran through my head."

 

In Singapore, according to their National Neuroscience Institute, four times as many patients below 65 – so, classified as younger-onset - were diagnosed with dementia in 2015 than in 2011.

 

In 2018, an estimated 40,000 people live with dementia, and one in 10 is

 

under 65 years old.

 

By comparison in Australia, according to Dementia Australia, 1 in 16 people is diagnosed with younger onset compared with 1 in 10 over the age of 65.

 

With an ever-increasing number of people diagnosed with younger-onset Dementia, the inevitable result is that their carers are also getting younger - like Melissa Chan.

 

You might need a glass of something stronger than water to contemplate these stats:

 

Dementia affects almost 50 million people worldwide, and this is predicted to increase to 131.5 million people by 2050 [4]

 

Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia [4]

 

 

 

Two out of three people globally believe there is little or no understanding of dementia in their countries [4]

 

Currently an estimated 250 people are joining the population with dementia each day.

 

The number of new cases of dementia will increase to 318 people per day by 2025 and more than 650 people by 2056 [2]

 

The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia were US$818 billion in 2015 [5]

 

If dementia were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy [5]

 

In England, there’s a move to follow what It is being modelled in  Hogeweyk, a Dementia village near Amsterdam, whose inhabitants live in shared houses, have a supermarket, park cafe, cinema, village squares and gardens, as well as round-the-clock care if they need it.

 

“What struck us was how unrecognisable the lives of those with dementia were at Hogeweyk, compared with those I’ve met in England,” Simon Wright, the chief executive of developers Corinthian Land, told the Times.

 

We at MemBo Noticeboard are proud to support Dementia Australia's Dementia-Friendly-Community Initiative, and you can learn more here:

 

Dementia-Friendly-Community

 

You can view video footage and read the full article about Melissa Chan here:

 

The S

trait Times Interview with Melissa Chan

 

 

 

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017) Causes of Death, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 3303.0)
[2] The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling NATSEM (2016) Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056
[3] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia
[4] Alzheimer’s Disease International https://www.alz.co.uk/about-dementia
[5] Alzheimer’s Disease International (2015) World Alzheimer Report 2015: The Global Impact of Dementia - an Analysis of Prevalence, Incidence, Cost and Trends

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