Anti Dementia: New youth-led campaign to raise awareness launches in Cairo

Salonaz Sami, Wednesday 12 Jun 2024

As part of their graduation project, 14 students at the College of Language and Communication (CLC) at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport launched a mass-media campaign, Anti Dementia.

 Anti dementia  campaign in Cairo


The young women's movement, led by their fellow student Farah Rasslan, aims to shed some light on the debilitating disease by providing a comprehensive guide for patients, their families, and their caregivers.

The students chose the name 'Anti Dementia' to draw attention to the fact that while memory loss is one of the key signs of dementia, it is not the only one.

Because dementia is a general term, its symptoms can vary widely from person to person. People with dementia have problems with memory, attention, communication, visual perception, reasoning, and judgment. Currently, more than 55 million people worldwide have dementia, according to the WHO, which is now the seventh leading cause of death and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally.

"We thought it was the perfect subject to tackle, especially as several people confuse it with other memory-related illnesses such as Alzheimer's," explained 22-year-old Habiba Mohamed. "The name was carefully chosen to reflect exactly what we want to achieve and that is to inspire people from all sections of society to understand and be more aware of the hundreds of families affected by dementia," she added.  

Dementia has physical, psychological, social, and economic impacts on people living with the condition and their caregivers, families, and society at large. "There is often a lack of awareness and understanding of the illness, resulting in stigmatization and barriers to diagnosis and care," Habiba said.

The campaign aims to get people talking more comfortably and openly about dementia. "Talking about dementia helps tackle the stigma, normalizes language, and encourages people to find out more about the disease and seek help, advice, and support," she noted.

"We also want to encourage individuals, businesses, and other organizations to take small practical steps to help build compassionate communities that provide vital social support to those experiencing dementia," Habiba explained.

The campaign aims to help communicate the lived experience of people with dementia and those caring for them "to provide reliable information about the illness and signposting to services and supports to help those living with dementia, those caring for them, health professionals, and the general public," she pointed out.

Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as senility or senile dementia, which reflects the formerly widespread -- but incorrect -- belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of ageing. Indeed, dementia mainly affects older people but not all people will get it as they age.

Furthermore, the campaign launched a Facebook page that constantly posts interviews with doctors. The page also includes animated videos that follow the lives of people with dementia and their families in a way many of us may have never seen before.

"The videos simply put people with the condition and their loved ones at centre stage," Habiba explained. "We have done tons of research before launching the page to ensure we have the right information from the right source," she added.  

"If you or someone you know is experiencing memory difficulties or other changes in thinking skills, don't ignore them, and get them checked out," the students wrote on their campaign page, adding that "professional evaluation may detect a treatable condition, and even if the symptoms suggest dementia, getting an early diagnosis allows you maximum benefit from the available treatment."

Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that affect the brain. Since the causes of dementia are not yet fully known, there is no sure way to prevent it. However, you can keep your brain healthy by being physically and socially active, eating a balanced diet, and keeping your brain alert by learning new languages and hobbies, reading, or solving puzzles. 

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