The survey in question asked 500 adults over the age of 50 about what health conditions worried them the most. Two thirds of respondents said they are worried they will develop dementia, while just one in 10 are worried about getting cancer. Under 4% said heart disease worried them and less than 1% are concerned about diabetes.
It is estimated that there are about 800,000 people in the UK living with dementia, but as the population continues to age – this figure is expected to soar. Symptoms of dementia include problems with cognitive function, difficulty talking and memory loss. It occurs when illnesses like stroke and Alzheimer’s disease damage the brain.
Paul Green, director of communications at over-50s company Saga (who carried out the research) explains why it is a common fear:
”As an increasing number of people are diagnosed with dementia more people are seeing the profound impact that it can have on both the individual as well as the wider family.
”However whilst these fears are completely understandable, it’s important that education around the condition is enhanced to give a greater understanding of the benefits of early diagnosis – and how this can help those living with the condition continue to lead fulfilling lives.”
Hilary Evans, the director of external affairs at charity Alzheimer’s Research UK commented on the poll and said with the rising figures of those affected by dementia, it is no surprise it is a common fear. She also pointed out that the challenge is to find new ways to prevent and treat dementia to show people that there is hope of beating it.
If you are concerned about developing dementia, speak to your GP regarding preventative measures. If you are living with the condition or the fear is affecting your everyday life, you may find it helpful to speak to a counsellor.