A compassionate Wagga carer has spoken of the debilitating state dementia sufferers can sink to after diagnosis.
New figures reveal an ageing population is set to put dramatic pressure on the city’s care facilities, with the rate of Alzheimer's disease expected to double over the next 35 years.
According to Alzheimer’s Australia, an extra 1400 people will be diagnosed with the disease by 2050.
The rate is twice the current average of 1135 people this year.
Susan Davis ran the The Haven’s dementia unit for eight years and said the far-reaching impact of the disease often drove families to a state of denial.
“They think they start to get a bit forgetful and then it just progresses from there,” she said.
“It impacts so much on their life and they don’t want other families to know.”
Ms Davis said the disease starts to ramp up – depending on the patient – either "quite suddenly” or over time.
"It starts to escalate either way,” she said.
“They can be up all night because they can be too scared to go to sleep and throughout all of this other people in their lives can be unaware.”
Alzheimer's Australia (AA) pushes early detection, with memory loss one of the first signs of dementia.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
AA said available medications can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life in some people, but they do not stop the progress of the disease.
“I really do think dementia is going to become a bigger problem as we get older,” Ms Davis said.
“With an ageing population it’s going to get bigger and bigger. We really do need to do something about it now.”
Ms Davis said stigmas such as the “we’re not coping” factor could be overcome by education campaigns designed to target groups early.
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