SURVEY: High dementia rates on Coast
FRASER Coast people living with dementia have been asked to consider how discrimination impacts on their lives.
This week is Dementia Action Week and this year those living with the disease are being asked to complete a survey to paint a picture of what that discrimination looks like.
In the federal electorates of Flynn, Hinkler and Wide Bay there are an estimated 10,143 people living with dementia this year, which is expected to increase to 19,164 within the next 40 years.
Across Australia, an estimated 447,000 people have the disease.
Figures show that without a medical breakthrough, the number of Australians living with dementia is projected to rise to about 1.1 million by 2058.
The increasing prevalence means everyone in Australia will be impacted by dementia in some way.
Dementia Australia chief executive officer Maree McCabe said almost 5000 people had already responded since the survey opened last month.
"We know, because people living with dementia tell us, that discrimination exists and that it impacts on their everyday life," Ms McCabe said.
"That's why we want to tackle this head-on and we are calling on all Australians to contribute their views.
"If we can inspire the general public, as well as people who have been impacted by dementia, to complete the survey we believe we will have access to invaluable data that will give us a national, informed picture of what discrimination looks like now and what it would take to shift those behaviours.
"Dementia is the chronic disease of the 21st century.
"We have a responsibility to think differently about dementia and end the discrimination."
Dirscrimination can take on many forms.
Tim Granger, diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease four years ago, said people's behaviour towards him had changed.
"A lot of people don't know how to approach me and there's a misconception that I won't remember who they are," Mr Granger said.
"I was recently at an event where I knew almost everyone in the church yet everyone stayed away except one man."
To find out more about the survey, head to dementia.org.au/dementia-action-week.