New perspectives and approaches to understanding dementia and stigma

Oct 27, 2014 | REPORTS

This new compendium of essays examines the social stigma which surrounds dementia, highlighting that stigma is impending early diagnosis, care and research into the disease.

The report, New perspectives and approaches to understanding dementia and stigma, published by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) in collaboration with the MRC, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society and supported by the drug company Pfizer, shines a light on the impact the fear around dementia has on those living with the condition, their families and carers, which prevents the research community capturing a full picture of the disease.

According to data in the report, people over the age of 55 fear being diagnosed with dementia more than any other condition and at least 1 in 4 people hide their diagnosis, citing stigma as the reason.
The issue of stigma is widely acknowledged as a serious challenge for people with dementia and their carers at the individual, family and societal level, and as noted above serves as a barrier to access care, support and treatment. However, limited attention has been focussed on the origins of stigma and stigmatisation.

The overarching goal is to shed greater light and insight on the causes of stigma and explore this from a multidisciplinary perspective. After holding a high level discussion in the House of Lords, the themes that emerged were explored in this compendium, with contributions from across academia, the public and private sector and the voluntary sector.