Try not to be scared: that's the take-home message from dementia advocate Sarah Ashton in an awareness raising video.
Sarah's early onset dementia diagnosis at age 56 turned her life upside down.
She is now living with a more complex form of dementia.
The Mid North Coast Local Health District, which made the 20-minute video, shared Sarah's story about living with dementia to help educate the community.
The video chronicles Sarah's story touching on themes from noticing memory loss to symptom progression, the diagnosis and beyond.
It provides a message of hope.
Sarah wants the video to start a conversation within communities and particularly within families.
"I'm hoping the video will make people think and will make people say to themselves does this have relevance to my life, to my dad's life, to my mum's life, to my sister's life and should we be having a conversation with them around that," she said.
"Do not be afraid of the diagnosis, because if that's the reality of your life or your loved one's life, going into denial, you are missing the opportunity for help."
Some 4700 people in the Cowper electorate are living with dementia, according to the most recent estimation.
Without a medical breakthrough, this number is expected to rise to more than 5800 by 2058.
Dementia Australia executive director, advocacy and research Dr Kaele Stokes said dementia had quite a wide impact but quite a lot of people didn't talk about dementia which was why people like Sarah were so important.
Dr Stokes said there was a misconception in the community about dementia and how it impacted people.
Dementia describes a collection of symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain.
It affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks.
"Lots of people living with dementia, and their carers, talk about how they can live well with dementia and how they can meaningfully engage," Dr Stokes said.
She said people with concerns about changes to their cognitive function should speak to a health care professional.
The National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 is a free confidential phone and email information and support service.
Dementia Australia has a range of programs and services designed to help people at various stages of the dementia trajectory.
Dr Stokes encouraged people to take a look at the video of Sarah's story.
"I think it describes very neatly all the key challenges and key opportunities," she said.
"Sarah's message of hope is a really important one."
Sarah, as a keen observer, says she can see the challenges and troubles in the world.
She feels lucky to live in this beautiful area, to have her friends and her involvement with the community.
"I just find a joy in the fact, that despite the diagnosis, I have a life and it's a life I like a lot," Sarah said.
What else is making news, sport?