Doctors and patients team-up to dispel dementia myths

A new book featuring people living with dementia and experts aims to break down the stigma around the condition.

Dundee V&A: New book aiming to dispel myths surrounding dementia launches in Dundee STV News

A new book bringing together medical professionals and people with dementia has been launched at V&A Dundee.

‘Challenging Assumptions Around Dementia: User-led Research and Untold Stories’ aims to break down the stigma and misconceptions surrounding the conditions and who it affects.

Despite working with people who have dementia Martin Robertson didn’t recognise any of the signs before his diagnosis of Posterior Cortical Atrophy, a rare form of dementia.

He told STV News he’s experienced people thinking he was drunk, despite it being the symptoms of the disease.

He said: “Most peoples views of dementia are people sitting in chairs and people not able to do much.

“But certainly now a days there’s a lot more early diagnosis.

“But my dementia in particular my memory and brain and cognitive functions are still quite good.

“However, you can see I have to close my eyes, my senses and my physical bits and motions are all wrong and even my neurologist says he’s learning from me because it’s so rare.”

Masood Ahmed Qureshi travelled from Stoke-on-Trent to be a part of the book launch.

He’s been working with local GPs and politicians in England to help raise awareness of the condition in South Asian Communities.

He added: “Within the South Asian community there are 14 different languages and dialects that are spoken and there isn’t an equivalent word for dementia in any of those languages.

“So people sometimes get it confused with mental illness, or possession and some even think it’s a punishment for bad deeds.”

Dr Rosie Ashworth’s work as a dementia and neuroprogressive researcher covers the whole of Scotland.

She said the launch of the book isn’t just important for those living with a diagnosis, and their families – but also for those in the medical profession.

She said: “People with dementia often feel their condition is not understood, that people aren’t asking them how does it affect you how does it affect your life.

“There’s a lot of assumptions and in society we make a lot of assumptions. We assume everyone will be old, we assume people wont have any memory.

“We make very sweeping assumptions and this about saying just take a step back.”

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