In Australia there are more than 400,000 people living with dementia and almost 50 million worldwide.
Information on the condition can often be overwhelming and confusing, both for those living with the disease and those caring for someone with dementia.
In a bid to combat this divide, leaders in the field of dementia research, education and care have come together to create a free online nine-week course with clear information accessible to everyone.
Developed by the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre at the University of Tasmania, the course addresses this important health issue by drawing upon the expertise of neuroscientists, clinicians and dementia care professionals from both within the Wicking Centre and beyond.
The course, Understanding Dementia, is divided into three units: the ‘The Brain’, ‘The Diseases’ and ‘The Person’.
It also includes information about how the brain is affected by the diseases that cause dementia, symptoms, diagnosis, stages and management, and personal and carers’ perspectives of living with dementia.
There are no prerequisites for the course and as it is online you can study at a time that suits you best.
Understanding Dementia is globally popular, attracting international acclaim with over 100,000 participants from more than 175 countries engaging in the course since inception.
It’s also listed in the Top 50 online courses of all time, and is currently rated the number one Online Health Course by Class Central.
People from all walks of life, including over 17,000 in Australia and New Zealand, have already joined the 2017 course.
It can be daunting to know how you can better understand this condition, particularly for those who know someone living with dementia.
Dementia symptoms can be subtle at first, with many people experiencing memory loss, confusion and a change in personality.
Other signs include, withdrawing from social engagements and losing the ability to perform normal, everyday tasks.
While money is being poured into researching causes and prevention of the disease, experts are yet to unravel the full complexities of the condition.
There is still plenty to learn and Understanding Dementia is helping those who want to better understand the disease.
Enrolment for the free course opens on 18 August. You can sign up here.