January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Canada needs to be a safe and inclusive space for all individuals living with dementia and it is those individuals who can teach us what it is like to live with the disease and how they can best be supported. There are currently 564,000 Canadians living with dementia, a number expected to grow dramatically in the next 15 years. For the nearly 10,000 residents living in Durham Region who have been diagnosed with dementia; it is important for everyone to understand their value and that their disease doesn’t take away from their humanity. People with dementia have lived experiences and they can educate us; we just need to listen. People with dementia can, and are, making great contributions and need to be given the chance to contribute to the fabric of our communities. Dementia affects everyone differently. Once you’ve met one person with dementia, you’ve only met one of the many faces of the disease. However, dementia impacts more people than those who live with the disease; caregivers, families and friends live with dementia as well and all need our compassion, understanding and support.
It is our hope to work in municipalities across Durham Region to create dementia-friendly communities where people living with the disease can feel more comfortable when going about their daily lives. When we reduce stigma, people with dementia can live better. Local families have come to rely upon the many support programs offered at the Alzheimer Society of Durham Region. We need to plan now to ensure we can continue to meet the rising demand on our services which include individual, group, family and care partner support, public education, social and recreational programs and more. If you would like further information on how we can help you and your family, please contact our office today at 905-576-2567, or visit our website at www.alzheimer.ca/durham.