February 21, 2018

What is the "reality" for people with dementia?

We look at the impact of the syndrome, efforts to tackle it, and the pioneering ways to ease the burden on those affected.

Dementia is devastating for those living with it, as well as their family and friends - and more people will be exposed to its effects in the future.

Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms related to a range of progressive cognitive diseases, of which Alzheimer's Disease is just one. People with dementia face a daily battle to unlock memories, get around, and complete routine tasks. It takes an exhausting emotional and practical toll on the family and friends of those fighting it.

Cases of Alzheimer's Disease are expected to double every 20 years, according to Alzheimer's Disease International. It is estimated that a new diagnosis of the disease is made every three seconds. And it is a health crisis with global dimensions - dementia cases are predicted to rise particularly quickly in China, India, south Asia and the western Pacific region.

While the effects of some forms of dementia can be lessened through drug treatment, a cure remains elusive. But scientists are creatively gathering data, including through the use of a virtual reality game, to advance their understanding of dementia and accelerate progress towards finding new treatments. In the meantime doctors, nurses and caregivers are radically refining palliative care methods. Music therapy and pioneering assisted-living facilities are just two methods that have changed lives.

We'll take a look at the impact of dementia on those closest to it, the efforts being made to tackle it, and the innovative ways that physical and emotional burdens are being eased.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Dr. Mary L. Radnofsky, Ph.D @mradnofsky
Dementia rights advocate 

Michael Hornberger @m_hornberger
Professor of Applied Dementia Research

Dr. Tarun Dua
World Health Organization, Neurological Disorders and Public Health

Melora Jackson @MeloraJackson
Virtual Dementia Tour Clinical Manager

Read more: 

The Dutch village where everyone has dementia - The Atlantic 
Dementia research must study care as well as cure - The Guardian 

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