Research shows that Indigenous Australians who have suffered childhood abuse, particularly those of the stolen generation, are up to three times as likely to suffer from dementia than those who have not. The dementia also typically occurs earlier in life than the greater population, with the rate being higher than for any other group in the world.
The Koori Growing Well study is tracking the health of 336 Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders aged 60 to 92, from the Sydney and Mid North Coast areas. Participants were asked questions about their lives before ages 15, measured against the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. One in four had suffered childhood trauma, compared with one in ten of the wider population. A strong correlation between childhood trauma and dementia has been found.
Darryl Wright, chief executive of Campbelltown's Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation and co-investigator of the project, said that "What everyone wants to do is retire quietly and peacefully, that's the aim of life. But the research showed Aboriginal people were traumatised and paying the price of "colonisation, the stolen generation, slavery, and massacres".
Read more about the findings here.