A tsunami. That is the word the leading Belgian scientist in the field of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, Prof. Dr. Christine Van Broeckhoven, uses to describe the fast increasing number of AD/…-patients in Western-European countries. Populations age rapidly and with old age come chronic diseases, dementia heading the squad. Take Belgium. It has around 11.000 inhabitants. Around 300.000 people are presently diagnosed to have some sort of dementia. Three times more actually have it. In twenty years time, supposing – which is very probable – no medication is found to treat or stop dementia, this number will have doubled. This would mean that close to one fifth of the Belgian population will by then be suffering from dementia. A tsunami.
It is a tsunami, even more, since society is not ready for this evolution. It cannot build homes for that many people, let alone if this would be a plausible option. So we will have to find other solutions to learn to live with it and sustain a human society. But we won’t for as long as we keep dementia hidden in a dark perception. One way to deal with it and with other mental illnesses, is to, in our minds, give them the very same status as physical illnesses. We do that by talking openly about them and get to know the very nature and course of the diseases. We could realize that an early diagnosis is of great importance. That camouflaging dementia does not help anyone. We could learn that in largely the first half of the dementia period, there still is a good quality of life. That at least, we could cherish.
With my photos, I tried to get close to worlds of forgetfulness.