Dementia is a growing health concern for all Australians. Preliminary evidence indicates that it is a greater health concern for Indigenous Australians

Publication: Garvey, G., Simmonds, D., Clements, V., O’Rourke, P., Sullivan, K., Gorman, D., Curnow, V., Wise, S., & Beattie, E. (2011), Making sense of dementia: understanding amongst Indigenous Australians, Aboriginal & Islander Health Worker Journal, March/April, Vol 39, 2: 16-18.

Research Overview

Prevalence of dementia amongst Australia’s Indigenous People needs to be rigorously researched. However, there is some evidence that dementia rates are five times that of the general population, especially for those over 65.

Therefore, there study has begun to address a serious need to research Indigenous Australians’ understanding, knowledge and misconceptions of dementia.

Design: 174 Indigenous Adults participated in a cross-sectional survey using a modified version of the Alzheimer’s disease Knowledge Test (ADK).
Results: The overall level of understanding of dementia in this sample was poor.

Culturally appropriate awareness campaigns and targeting educational interventions need to be implemented to improve the general understanding of dementia in Indigenous communities.

Key Points

  • Indigenous peoples understanding of dementia was poor, particularly for younger participants.
  • Some of the misconceptions held by Indigenous people about dementia were also the same as what had previously been reported for non-Indigenous people.
  •  Culturally appropriate awareness campaigns and targeted educational interventions on understanding dementia are needed in Indigenous communities.


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