Journal article Open Access

She's Not a Witch It's Dementia

OGUNDIPE, Rahmot A. (RN, RM, BNSc); OHAERI, Beatrice (RN, Ph.D); OJO, Iyanuoluwa O. (RN, Ph.D); BABARIMISA, Oluwatoyin (RN, M.Sc.)

As the global population ages, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia are becoming worldwide health priorities. The aging population increases those at risk of dementia. The anxiety of having dementia is recounted in some African countries where dementia is opined to be as a result of evil spirits. The issue of older women with dementia is disheartening because they easily accused them of witchcraft. Elderly women are one of the most susceptible members of society in sub-Saharan Africa, and at risk of being blamed for witchcraft or being a witch. The link between witchcraft accusations on people with behaviours that are not understood by local communities is not a new occurrence. One disease, which affects a person’s attitudes that may be misjudged, is dementia. So this study critically examined the concept of dementia, classifications of dementia, public perception about dementia, health seeking behaviour for women with dementia, and the role nurses could play in providing dementia education. The results of this review identified the need to progress beyond a focus on the prevalence, incidence and risk factors of dementia in sub-Saharan Africa. There is now an emergency need to explore the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with dementia in sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: Dementia, Memory, Witch, Women,

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