Dementia attitudes and help-seeking intentions: an investigation of responses to two scenarios of an experience of the early signs of dementia
Objectives: To investigate associations between dementia-attitudes and help-seeking intentions. Method: An online survey of 611 Australian adults (45-60 years) assessed dementia-related attitudes and help-seeking intentions in response to two scenarios of an experience of early dementia: for themselves (Scenario 1); and for a significant other (proxy help-seeking) (Scenario 2). Logistic regression models examined the relationship between four dementia-related attitudes (labelled Personal Avoidance, Fear of Labelling, Fear of Discrimination and Person Centredness) and help-seeking intentions. Results: Most participants indicated they would seek help from a general practitioner (GP) for themselves (82.2%) or for a proxy (78.7%) in response to the scenarios. Whilst only 7.2% indicated they would seek help from no-one, 21.3% would delay seeking help. In response to Scenario 1, Personal Avoidance and Fear of Labelling were associated with intentions to delay help-seeking. Fear of both Labelling and Discrimination were associated with intentions to seek help from no-one. In response to Scenario 2, Personal Avoidance was associated with intentions to delay proxy help-seeking and a reduced likelihood of seeking help by phone or and with Fear of Discrimination, via a GP. Fear of Labelling was also associated with an intention to delay proxy help-seeking. Conclusion: Efforts to improve help-seeking for dementia should address attitudes relating to stigma including negative labelling and a desire for the avoidance of people with dementia. Fears relating to discrimination indicate a need to build public confidence regarding the capacity of the health and workforce sectors to support people with dementia ethically and appropriately.