A CAMPAIGN highlighting the debilitating impact of cognitive decline, which many older Australians experience as a consequence of impairments such as dementia or stroke has been launched in Bathurst.
Residents at Whiddon’s Kelso aged care facility kicked off Senior’s Week and Brain Awareness Week with a morning tea where residents, staff and families joined the Sign My Name campaign.
The campaign encourages the public to write their name on a piece of paper using their non-dominant writing hand, before posting a selfie of the attempt on Facebook, along with the hashtag #BrainAwarenessWeek.
Whiddon strategic policy and research general manager Karn Nelson said a person’s use of their non-dominant hand offered a glimpse into the trauma related to losing the ability to perform day-to-day tasks we often take for granted.
“The act of signing your name is an automatic task we perform without a second thought,” Ms Nelson said.
“Imagine losing this ability and the huge implications that would have, such as the inability to authorise legal documents.
“Many older people with cognitive decline experience frustration at feeling ‘locked inside’ and knowing what they want to say or do, but not being able to articulate or physically perform what their brain is telling them.
“The Sign My Name campaign was created to provide a glimmer of insight into living with cognitive decline and what it would feel like to be unable to perform such a task as signing your own name. Our goal is to get all Australians thinking about the mental wellbeing of our older generations this Brain Awareness Week, and beyond.”
For example, more than 342,000 Australians are currently living with dementia (expected to increase to 400,000 in less than 10 years), including almost a third of those over 85.
In addition, more than 700,000 Australians are currently living with an acquired brain injury.