Public knowledge and understanding of dementia-evidence from a national survey in Ireland.
This paper reports the results of a national survey that assessed the level of knowledge among the Irish general public on the relationship between ageing and dementia and of risk and protective factors. 39% of participants were confident they could differentiate between the early signs of dementia and normal ageing. One in five believed that those under 65yrs don't get dementia and 23% beleived that only old people get dementia. When it came to understanding that dementia risk could be modified, less than half knew there were things they could do to modify their risk. Some socio demographic variables influenced responses here but even those with better knowledge had considerable gaps in their knowledge. Younger people were more likely to answer incorrectly and participants who knew or had known someone with dementia were more likely to answer correctly. The results indicate confusion and poor levels of knowledge and the authors suggest any awareness campaigns must address a range of knowledge deficits.