Education about normal forgetfulness and dementia
In Western European and North American countries there has been a sharp increase in the total number as well as in the proportion of aged individuals in the population. In The Netherlands, for example, the number of people aged 65 years and older will increase from 12.5 per cent in 1988 to 24.1 per cent in 2040 (Central Bureau of Statistics, 1989). This development has important consequences, not only for the elderly themselves, but also for society in general and health care in particular. The number of chronic diseases will increase - for example, arthritis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, psychogeriatric disorders and dementia. With advancing years, not only do physical functions diminish, but changes also occur in cognitive functioning. For instance, people experience that their memory is not working as well as it used to. In this chapter, the issue of educating people to accept what is normal forgetfulness and to seek help for abnormal forgetfulness will be considered. An information brochure was developed for this purpose and its content and effectiveness will be described in this chapter.