Senior Moments Are Never-ending Times When You Are Old (Are They?): First Step of Turquoise Project
Noro Psikiyatr Ars. 2022 Aug 5;59(Suppl 1):S10-S16. doi: 10.29399/npa.28152. eCollection 2022.
INTRODUCTION: The number of dementia patients in Turkey is increasing, as well as all over the world. However, we do not know how much society knows about dementia. The aim of this study is to evaluate people's concept of dementia, their awareness of dementia research and treatment, whether dementia and forgetfulness are considered normal in old age, and whether having dementia is associated with a lack of mental abilities.
METHODS: A Dementia Awareness Questionnaire was created in the form of a self-report questionnaire, consisting of 20 questions and using a five-point Likert-type answering method in order to question participants' information about dementia. In addition, we asked for demographic information such as age, gender, occupation, education level of the participants, as well as whether they have had relatives diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease. The surveys were administered online.
RESULTS: A total of 1551 participants from 53 cities were included in the study. Approximately half of the participants did not know the definition of dementia, 20.9% thought that dementia and Alzheimer's disease were the same; 50.4% considered forgetfulness, and 55.2% considered dementia as a natural consequence of aging. While 34.5% of the participants thought that dementia patients could be dangerous, 10.3% thought they could not continue living as a part of society. While 38.5% of healthcare professionals do not know the definition of dementia, 18.5% of them say that dementia and Alzheimer's disease are the same, 58.5% think that dementia patients are not fit to make their own decisions, 40.6% believe that dementia patients have criminal liability. 15.8% of healthcare professionals thought that dementia is only seen in elderly people; 21.4% thought that dementia, and 49.2% thought that forgetfulness was a result of normal aging.
CONCLUSION: Our study confirms that dementia is still an unknown concept in society and among healthcare professionals. It is widely believed that forgetfulness and dementia are part of normal aging, and there is no cure for dementia. This study, which we have done in order to understand the level of dementia awareness in Turkish society, reveals the necessity for research on dementia and studies on how to increase dementia awareness.