There is still a sense of stigma about the diagnosis of dementia. But stigma can be reduced. In the past there was huge stigma attached to a diagnosis of TB and of cancer. People did not want it known that the condition was in the family and often the person themselves was shielded from the diagnosis. These conditions are now seen as treatable conditions and are talked about openly without a sense of shame and secrecy.
We hope that with better information and reduced stigma people will be encouraged to come forward earlier for diagnosis and treatment. Currently less than 50% of people ever receive a diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis is essential to address needs and to ensure access to services and supports. We believe that people have the right to know their diagnosis if that is their wish.
Often diagnosis occurs late on in the illness, or at a time of crisis, where opportunities for harm prevention and maximisation of quality of life have passed.
Understand Together is the national Dementia Campaign, established to support people living with Dementia, family, carers and the community, helping to combat negative stereotypes of dementia through building awareness and support