The biggest misconception about dementia is that it's a normal part of aging, according to a new study out of Trinity College Dublin and St. James Hospital's Dementia Services Centre in Ireland. After reviewing 40 research articles from 15 different countries, researchers found that the general public has a limited understanding of dementia.
Besides believing dementia is a normal part of aging, the general public was also unclear about at what point normal age-related memory loss becomes severe enough to classify as dementia.
"Lack of public understanding of dementia has negative consequences for both the individual coping with the symptoms and for family caregivers," study author Suzanne Cahill, director of the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre, said in a press release. "The individual may experience stigma, embarrassment and ridicule due to negative societal attitudes and retreat from activities once enjoyed and the caregiver may experience social isolation since neighbors, friends and family gradually withdraw, not knowing how to behave."
The full study was published in the Alzheimer's Disease and Associated Disorders peer-reviewed journal. Read more here.