The impact of discrimination on people living with dementia
The impacts of discrimination can be significant and wide-ranging. Australian and international studies show that stigma and discrimination associated with a dementia diagnosis can discourage people from seeking health care, including a diagnosis, and reduce social engagement with family, friends and the broader community. This can have serious consequences for the physical, cognitive and psychosocial health of the person living with dementia.
Dementia Australia research over the past five years shows there is still a lack of awareness and understanding about dementia in the Australian community. Poor dementia understanding contributes to people with dementia, their families and carers experiencing stigma and discrimination in many places, from community and retail spaces to the health care sector.
Discrimination can look like
- Families and friends withdrawing and people with dementia reporting they are less likely to be included in social occasions and engagement.
- Doctors and other health professionals communicating only with the person’s carer, making an assumption that the person with the diagnosis no longer has the capacity to contribute to a conversation or make decisions for themselves.
- People living with dementia and carers tell us they are not offered the same access to wellness and allied health services because there is an assumption that they will not benefit from it.
- People who share their diagnosis with their employers being less likely to receive the same level of support to continue to work or transition out of work as do people who are diagnosed with other chronic diseases.
Read our Dismantling dementia discrimination: It starts before the diagnosis 2022 policy report for more information.