Canadians living with dementia are going public for a third consecutive year in an effort to change hearts and minds and tackle the ongoing discrimination they experience in their day-to-day lives.
These personal stories are part of the Alzheimer Society’s nation-wide campaign, “I Live With Dementia. Let Me Help You Understand, as part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
Spurred by alarming research indicating that one in four Canadians surveyed would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia, the campaign gives a voice to those living with dementia who are frustrated by the constant assumptions and misinformation associated with the disease.
“Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be difficult, but stigma can make the impact of this disease even more devastating,” says Denyse Newton, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Durham Region. “Breaking down stigma involves education. When people are educated about dementia, it helps eliminate barriers to inclusivity so the person living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can feel safe and supported in the community.”
The official declaration of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Durham Region took place a regional headquarters on Monday, Jan. 6.
More than half a million Canadians are living with dementia today, a figure that doesn’t include the thousands of family members who provide direct care. In the next 12 years, the number of Canadians living with dementia is expected to double.
“We all have a role to play,” says Newton. “A little understanding and compassion can go a long way in helping to improve the quality of life for those living with the disease, throughout the dementia journey.”
To find out how you can help in the fight against stigma, visit the dedicated campaign website at ilivewithdementia.ca. The site also features practical information and downloadable materials, including myths and facts about the disease, as well as social media graphics to help spread the word about the campaign.
Founded in 1979, the Alzheimer Society of Durham Region provides individual, family and group support, educational workshops and recreational and social programs for people living with dementia and their care partners and more. To learn more, visit www.alzheimer.ca/durham or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 905-576-2567.