Ageing, cognition and dementia in Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples : a life cycle approach /Publisher: Sydney, N.S.W. Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, University of New South Wales 2010Description: vi, [i], 65 p.: ill. tablesISBN: 0646537911; 9780646537917Subject(s): Aboriginal Australians Health Aspects | Older People | Dementia | Aboriginal Health | Aboriginal AustraliansOnline Resources: Electronic copy
This literature review was a joint initiative of the ARC/NHMRC Ageing Well Network; the Primary Dementia Collaborative Research Centre; Neuroscience Research Australia; and the Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit, University of New South Wales. June 2010
A number of Indigenous communities in rural and remote regions of Western Australia and the Northern Territory have almost five times as much dementia as the general Australian population but we don?t know if this is the same for Indigenous people in cities and country towns. Many Indigenous Australians may be at greater risk of developing dementia because more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are starting to live longer; there are still very high rates of chronic diseases like diabetes and stroke; the burden of childhood infections including periodontal disease, is higher in Indigenous communities; many younger Indigenous people are at high risk of head injuries and cognitive damage due to drugs and alcohol, all factors that may increase the chances of getting dementia in later life. Very few Indigenous people with dementia access mainstream government community programs in comparison to the rest of the population. There is insufficient information about how big the problem of dementia is in Indigenous people and what types of dementia affect different people in diverse communities across the country. Therefore we are unable to assess whether existing services are meeting the needs of this population or the real extent to which people are able to access programs. There is a strong Aboriginal belief that a life ?out of balance?, having lost the connection to the land and to traditional relationships causes sickness; some have described dementia as a ?sick spirit?. Our solutions to the problem of dementia need to take account of cultural perspectives and approaches to wellness.