Language Guidelines Seek to Change Attitudes about Dementia

According the World Health Organization (WHO), there is estimated to be 47 million people living with the dementia this year alone. This number is expected to double in 20 years.

In many countries, the symptoms associated with cognitive decline are stigmatized, perpetuating a lack of awareness and leaving individuals and caregivers affected by the condition with limited resources for support.

To further educate the public about dementia and to empower those most affected by the disease, Alzheimer’s Australia created “Dementia Language Guidelines”—a conversational roadmap to foster understanding, awareness and sensitivity to the experience and needs of individuals with dementia as well as the people who care for them. The guidelines offer new language in an effort to shift our attitudes about the condition and to, ultimately, change the way people with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are viewed and treated in society.

The guidelines can be used to facilitate dialogue in both personal and professional settings, to lay the ground work for new understanding and to inspire more positive engagement with people living with dementia–and their families.

After all—words do have power.

You can find the guidelines here.