He lived in the same house for over 40 years, but couldn’t remember what street it was on. His wife passed away four years ago, but he often didn’t know why she never responded when he called her name in the middle of the night.
According to Alfred Price, watching his father slowly deteriorate as dementia developed was the most difficult experience he’d faced.
“They aren’t the same person,” Mr Price said.
“That’s the hardest part, is watching them just fade into something else, and they don’t even realise it.”
With the number of people living with dementia expected to rise over the next 10 years, the 46-year-old is concerned he too will develop the condition.
“Anything I can do to help prevent it I’ll do, I just don’t want to go down the same route as my dad,” Mr Price said.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a media release that without a cure, preventing the disease through healthy lifestyle choices is crucial in intervening in the condition.
“In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple,” he said.
“We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia.
“The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart is also good for our brain.”
The report recommended people exercise regularly, not smoke, avoid harmful use of alcohol, eat a healthy diet and maintain healthy weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, in order to reduce the risk of developing dementia.
With an 447,115 Australians living with dementia this year, and projections that number would grow to one million by 2048, WHO said the guidelines contribute to its global action plan for the public health response to dementia.
WHO stated the guidelines need to work together with a strengthened information system for dementia, treatment and care and support for carers of those living with dementia and research and innovation, in order to better combat this rising health challenge.