The Discrimination of Dementia

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What does make sense is that, as I tell her every time I see her, she’s still my Mum.

International Women’s Day is a timely reminder that in many areas, true equality between the sexes remains a mirage. And a report issued yesterday to mark IWD reinforces that. Women and Dementia: A Global Challenge was published by the Global Alzheimer’s and Dementia Action Alliance, or GADAA. It’s worth reading. https://www.gadaalliance.org/report-women-dementia-a-global-challenge/

Put starkly, it confirms that women are disproportionately affected by dementia – by its prevalence, its caring burden of responsibility and its stigma.

Here are some facts. Dementia is the single biggest cause of death for women in the United Kingdom and it’s in the top ten worldwide. Two thirds of primary carers – either unpaid or in a formal care setting – are women. It follows that if more women are living with dementia and more women are caring for people living with dementia, the stigma which accompanies the disease is going to affect women more than men.

And yet, there seems to be no research dedicated to the impact of dementia on women and no specific policies worldwide to address this impact.

Yesterday’s budget stole the headlines as it probably should. But here’s a story which should also be told. In the years before dementia began to unpick Mum’s personality, she became quite militant in an understated way. As a flag-waving member of the Women’s Institute, she slow-handclapped Tony Blair when he was brave enough to speak at their annual conference, and she championed a series of awareness-raising causes, including prostate cancer at a time when comparatively little was spoken about it. That’s why raising awareness of dementia and of the unfairness of the burden on women would be a priority for Mum is circumstances were different. And that’s why it’s a priority for an increasing number of us worldwide.

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One Response to The Discrimination of Dementia

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