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Myths and facts about dementia

There are some common myths about dementia

Myth 1: Dementia is a natural part of ageing

While age is a significant risk factor in developing a dementia, not all older people will have dementia.

850,000 people are living with a dementia in the UK. Of those, 42,325 are under 65. This is called Young Onset dementia

1 in 6 people over 80 are living with dementia. This means that 5 in 6 people over 80 do NOT have dementia.

The percentages of people affected by dementia decreases with younger age groups:

1 in 14 people over the age of 65

1 in 688 people under the age of 65

(Source: Dementia UK, 2014)

Myth 2: Whether you get dementia or not is a lottery

The causes of dementia are not fully understood, but we are learning that there are things we can do to reduce our risk factors:

  • Be physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Be socially active
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol
  • Stop smoking
  • Commit to review your health

In doing so, we can reduce our risk factors by up to 60 per cent.

Myth 3: People with dementia are like babies

Some people will talk about people with dementia regressing and becoming like babies.

This is simply not true.

People living with dementia will have experienced and achieved many things in life and it’s damaging to think about them as childlike.

This incorrect view can affect people’s attitudes by treating the person as they would a child and using terms like ‘good girl’ and ‘naughty boy’.

You must challenge this and ensure people living with a dementia are treated with respect and dignity.

Case study

A case study to help you improve your practice about how there's more to a person than dementia.

Research links

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First published: 8 October 2018
Last updated: 25 September 2022
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