Recent media releases
Reporting on dementia
Things to keep in mind when reporting on dementia:
Media plays an important role in communication ideas and information to the public. Here are some key things to keep in mind to ensure you are reporting responsibly on the condition:
Positive images are in breaking down the fear and stigma surrounding dementia, and making the condition one that people are more encouraged to discuss. This might mean using images or reporting on people with dementia who are actively engaged in their communities and living a happy life.
A “cure” for dementia
It is important to be cautious when discussing the possibility of a “cure”. While this may make appealing media, inaccurate or exaggerated suggestions in this area can be harmful for people affected by dementia.
Where to go for help
Media can help people affected by dementia to get a diagnosis, help and support by including a point of contact in their coverage.
People who are concerned that they or someone they know has dementia should be directed to their GP in the first instance. For information, support and services they should contact Alzheimers New Zealand on 0800 004 001 or visit www.alzheimers.org.nz
Normalising the condition
Telling the stories of people with dementia, particularly high profile people who have an experience with the condition, can be helpful in normalising the condition and breaking down the stigma associated with dementia.
Interviewing someone with dementia
- Interviewing someone with dementia may require patience, and in some instances it may be best to include their support person/family/whanāu.
- If you are interviewing someone with dementia, allow more time for questions and repeat questions as required.
- Ask only one clearly phrased question at a time and be clear and precise about what you are asking.
- Be aware that because dementia is a memory condition, it may be difficult for the person to answer questions which require them to draw on their memory.
- It is common to receive short, concise responses rather than drawn out explanations from people with dementia
- Don’t confuse dementia with a hearing disability. It may help to speak clearly, but is not necessary to raise your voice.
- Treat the person with dementia like any other interviewee. Act naturally, greet them with a handshake, and avoid patronising or over-praising.
- If you do not understand the answer you receive, ask for clarification, or repeat what you have understood for confirmation.
- Avoid correcting, interrupting or speaking on behalf of the person.
- Remember the individual behind the condition. Report them as a person first and one who has dementia second. Listen to their story.
- It is useful to run over the information provided with the person’s support person/family/whanāu after the interview, or provide a draft of your article for fact checking if possible.