January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. This new year, let’s leave dementia stigma behind! We resolve to help people see dementia differently. Will you join us?
Did you know that over 500,000 Canadians are living with dementia? Did you know that in less than 15 years, that number is expected to double, affecting nearly 1 million people? Did you know that memory loss is NOT a normal part of aging?
Research shows that stigma around dementia is rampant. In a survey commissioned by the Alzheimer Society last year, 1 in 4 Canadians said they would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia, while 1 in 5 admitted to using derogatory or stigmatizing language about dementia.
Why Ending the Stigma is ImportantThe stigma around dementia prevents many from getting early treatment, because they are too ashamed to talk to their family or doctor about their symptoms. I work with families every day who think forgetfulness is normal in their aging parents and simply dismiss the signs they see rather than helping their parents get an early diagnosis and treatment. We need to end the embarrassment and shame related to this disease. No one chose this diagnosis, no one expected it to happen to them. Most importantly, the person always remains, despite what the disease may take from them.
In addition to helping Canadians better understand dementia, the ‘I live with Dementia’ campaign provides a platform for people like Keith and Ron to define who they are as individuals, rather than being defined by the disease.
Throughout January and the remainder of the year, you are invited to visit the campaign’s dedicated website to read and watch the compelling stories of people getting on with their life in spite of dementia. You’ll find tips on how to help end stigma, test your own attitudes towards the disease and download other useful resources. To learn more and get involved, visit ILiveWithDementia.ca.
Every day I work with families that are walking this journey. Dementia really does affect everyone. Year after year we are making progress on how to live life well with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Day by day we hope we are getting closer to a cure for this disease. Being educated in a first step in making sure we an properly support those around us that may be living with dementia.
Resources for you:
· Alzheimer’s Society of Alberta & NorthWest Territories
· Alberta Health Services Dementia Advice Service
· Upcoming Information Event · The Alzheimer’s Mystery with Jay Ingram
· Upcoming Fundraiser · Alzheimer’s Face-Off : NHL Hockey Alumni event
· Donate and make a difference today
E55 Asks: In the comments below – share your experience and your stories about dementia.