Notes to broadcasters
Dementia is a general term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills that is severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. It is estimated that 47 million people live with dementia globally and 63% of these live in low and middle-income countries. The number of people with dementia is set to rise to 75 million by the year 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050, with much of the increase in developing countries.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. But there are many other conditions that can cause dementia symptoms, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.
Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia.” This reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.
People with dementia may have problems with short-term memory, keeping track of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, remembering appointments, or travelling out of their neighbourhood.
Dementia is an overwhelming experience not only for the people who have it, but also for their caregivers and families. There is a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia in most countries, resulting in stigmatization and barriers to diagnosis and care, which impacts caregivers, families, and societies physically, psychologically, and economically.
This script illustrates the behaviour shown by people who have a dementia diagnosis, and addresses the care required from family and caregivers.
You could use this script as inspiration to produce a similar program on dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease on your station. Or you might choose to present it as part of your regular health program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.
If you create your own programs on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, talk to people who with dementia or Alzheimer’s in your area, talk with their family and caregivers, and talk to medical experts. You might ask them:
- How much do local people know about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
- How are people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease treated in your area?
- What kind of supports for individuals and families, if any, are provided by government or civil society organizations?
- What are the most difficult aspects of caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s? Have you found ways to address these challenges that might work for others?
- Do you think governments should support individuals and families who are dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s? If so, how?
The estimated running time for this item, with signature tune, intro, and extro, is 20 minutes
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In today’s program we are going to learn more about dementia: the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, causes of the condition, and the care needed for someone with dementia.
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I first spoke with Elizabeth about her experience living with her dad who was diagnosed with dementia.
In Elizabeth’s case, her dad could not recognize her as his daughter and refused to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. She was affected and even struggled with self-esteem for some time and had to undergo counselling. Because of the stress of being his caregiver, Angela’s mother would sometimes become violent.
After living with someone with dementia and learning a lot about it from experience, Elizabeth Mutunga started the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Organisation Kenya (ADOK) in 2016. It is a caregivers-led organization where caregivers share their experience and challenges and learn from each other. Angela benefits from the support group and attributes most of what she has learnt and the support she gets from interacting with other caregivers. Dr. Sokhi also attends the meetings from time to time to share medical information and ways in which caregivers can better take care of their loved ones. Members of ADOK are currently advocating for dementia care to be included in key government health strategies. Because of this, there is a little more information about dementia in the country and the caregivers have a place where they can go to get emotional support.
SIG TUNE UP THEN UNDER
Contributed by: Winnie Onyimbo, Trans World Radio, Nairobi, Kenya
Reviewed by: Dr. Dilraj Singh Sokhi, Assistant Professor in Adult Clinical Neurology, The Aga Khan University (East Africa), Consultant Neurologist and Head of Neurology Section, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi (Kenya)
Elizabeth Mutunga, of CEO and founder of Alzheimer’s and dementia organization in Kenya, July 23, 2019
Dr. Sokhi, Consultant Neurologist and Head of the Neurology section, The Aga Khan University in Kenya, August 6, 2019
Angela Gaithumi, caregiver of her mother, Grace Njoroge, August 21, 2019
- World Health Organization (WHO), 2017. Ten facts on dementia. https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/dementia
- Alzheimer’s and Dementia Organization Kenya, undated. Dementia. https://alzkenya.org/dementia
- Alzheimer’s Association, undated. Alzheimer’s and Dementia. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia
- Why Is Alzheimer’s More Likely in Women? https://www.alzheimers.net/8-12-15-why-is-alzheimers-more-likely-in-women/
- Alzheimers.net website. https://www.alzheimers.net