There is still a series of misunderstandings and ignorance regarding Alzheimer’s disease, according to a survey conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association, which showed that 59 percent of the people surveyed wrongly believe that the disease is a normal part of aging, and 40 percent of them don’t think Alzheimer’s is deadly. The survey, which included data from 12 countries, was conducted as part of the inaugural Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, this past June.
The Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month International Survey was conducted by Abt SRBI in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. The belief that Alzheimer’s disease is a typical condition developed in old age is higher in India (84%), Saudi Arabia (81%) and China (80%), while the UK and Mexico registered the lowest rates, with 37 and 38 percent, respectively.
“Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that slowly robs people of their independence and eventually their lives,” said the president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Harry Johns. “Sadly, Alzheimer’s disease knows no bounds. Anyone with a brain is at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, so everyone with a brain should join the fight against it.”
In addition, 37 percent of the people in the survey wrong believe that patients need to have a family history to suffer from the disease. In addition, 71 percent of surveyed people believe that governments are responsible for research on finding the cure for the disease and preventing Alzheimer’s.
“Despite an obvious and large knowledge gap, people around the world still recognize the threat the Alzheimer’s crisis presents and hold their government accountable for finding a cure and prevention,” said Johns. “In the U.S. and among the G7, federal governments have committed to preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. We must hold our leaders responsible for investing in the research needed to realize that goal.”
Although a severe lack of information was noted among the people surveyed, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most feared diseases, by almost a quarter of people (23 percent), while cancer was the only one with a higher percentage (42 percent). Regarding health priorities, 96 percent reported they considered being self-sufficient and not depending on others as important. Being able to pay for long-term care and caring for elderly parents at home were also important for 88 and 86 percent of people, respectively.
The Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month International Survey enrolled 6,307 adults and was one of the initiatives included in the awareness month. In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association also organized other events, such as a sunrise-to-sunset event to honor the strength, passion, and endurance of those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, dubbed “The Longest Day.”