Despite having universal healthcare, UK seniors suffering from dementia are less likely to seek free care than their counterparts in the U.S. for fear of a societal stigma that accompanies the condition, according to a new study.
Researchers examined approximately 125 older adults in Indianapolis, Indiana and 120 older adults in Kent, England to survey their opinions on the perceived harms and benefits of early dementia screenings.
Overall, the findings showed Britons had a greater concern with the stigma of a dementia diagnosis and related it to a potential loss of independence as well as with emotional suffering.
"From my prospective, it was a genuine surprise that having a universal health care system, which provides services and support to all those who need it, didn't protect from perceived stigma and negativity," Dr Malaz Boustani, one of the study's authors, said.
UK science fiction author Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with dementia and has been very open about his experiences in an effort to reduce the stigma.
"Its amazing how people listen if you stand up in public and give away $1 million for research into the disease, as I have done," said Pratchett in an interview with the Daily Mail last October.