More than 80 per cent of Australians do not know that dementia is the second leading cause of death in this country, according to a national survey.
The findings also showed that more than half of respondents did not understand the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and only 60 per cent correctly identified dementia was not a normal part of the ageing process.
41 per cent of respondents said they found talking to someone with dementia confronting.
The online survey of 1,000 people was conducted by Ipsos Australia and commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia, which moved from a federated body to a national organisation earlier this year.
On Wednesday, the unified organisation officially launched its new name, Dementia Australia, to better reflect its advocacy and support to people with all forms of dementia.
Dementia Australia Chair Graeme Samuel said the community’s low awareness of the condition was disappointing and had to change.
Dementia was a national health priority area and the leading cause of death among Australian women, he said.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said under its new structure the organisation would be better positioned to advocate for people living with dementia, their families and carers, and educate the public.
“Dementia is everybody’s business and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with government, stakeholders and the community, as a single, unified voice, to elevate the issue of dementia to the position it deserves as one of the biggest – and growing – health issues facing Australia today.”
Dementia Australia’s biennial National Dementia Conference is currently taking place in Melbourne until 20 October