Dementia Essay

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Introduction Dementia is a significant health issue in Australia (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2012) (AIHW 2012). Whilst Dementia primarily affects older members of the community, it can also affect young people and has a significant influence on overall health and quality of life (AIHW 2012). The type of Dementia is a determinant in the severity and development of symptoms in individuals (Department of Health 2013) (DoH, 2013). The gradual, progressive and irreversible nature of Dementia has a considerable social and physical impact not only on the individual, but also on family and friends. Definition of Dementia Contrary to common belief, Dementia is not a disease, it is a term that encompasses a collection of symptoms. These symptoms are associated with numerous diseases that involve the impairment of cognitive functions (DoH, 2013). Prevalence Prevalence is the aggregate number of individuals who are living with a certain condition at a particular point in time (AIHW 2012). There are significant issues hindering the ascertainment of prevalence data. Dementia is often unrecognised and undiagnosed until it is in its final stages however, estimations and available data indicate that Dementia is widespread in Australia (AIHW 2012). Dementia has historically been, and continues to be, a major health issue in Australia and is currently the third leading cause of death, behind Heart Disease and Cerebrovascular disease (ABS 2012). It is estimated that there are currently 332, 000 people living with Dementia in Australia (AIHW, 2012). In the 65+ age bracket, 9% of people are living with Dementia and this increase to 30% in the 85+ age bracket. Alzheimer’s Australia (2014) estimates that every week there are 1700 new ... ... middle of paper ... The demanding physical duties contribute to stress and mental health problems and carers have higher levels of psychological distress than non-carers (Pinquart & Sörensen, 2006). Research suggests that the physical effects of caregiving stem primarily from psychological impact (such as depression) rather than direct physical labouring in the provision of care (Pinquart & Sörensen, 2006). Conclusion Dementia is a pertinent public health issue in Australia. Whilst there are various types of Dementia, they all significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. The consequences of Dementia extend to carers and family and this, together with increasing prevalence, inconclusive and probable preventive measures and absence of a cure, indicates the need for further research, to enable Australia to combat the significant public health issue that is Dementia.

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