Poor quality of life, loss of independence and being a burden mean many fear getting a neurological condition such as dementia or Parkinson’s.

A survey by the charity Sue Ryder has found 45% of people are more scared of getting a neurological condition such as Parkinson’s, motor neuron disease or dementia than they are of getting cancer (36%) or coronary heart disease (2%).

People who took part in the survey were also concerned about social isolation, public stigma and even bullying towards people with a neurological condition.

Interestingly, people were less worried about physical pain or even an accelerated death, and more about the burden they might have on their family and friends if they were to develop a condition such as dementia.

Sue Hogston, Chief Nurse at Sue Ryder, said:

‘We understand the public’s fear of getting a neurological condition as some disorders can have such a major impact on someone’s quality of life, independence and ability to communicate.

‘We also know that getting a life-limiting neurological disorder is not the end of the road, and quality care and treatment can really help people adapt and live life as fully as possible.

‘Society’s lack of awareness of conditions that affect the brain and nervous system is a big issue. So we wholeheartedly agree with the public’s verdict that we need to educate people about the symptoms, treatment and care options of different disorders.’

However, in terms of attitudes to people with neurological conditions, there are some positive signs. Six in 10 people agree that technology is improving the lives of people with brain conditions, and over two thirds of people think you can now live more independent lives that you did 30 years ago.

Many survey respondents agreed that more investment in the NHS was needed to support people with neurological conditions, and that a national awareness campaign would be particularly helpful.

Source: Sue Ryder