FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and residents living with dementia are being encouraged to go public to help change minds and tackle the ongoing discrimination they experience.
Monday, January 6 as part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month a nation-wide campaign launched called, ‘ I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.’ This is an opportunity for persons living with Alzheimer’s to share their personal stories.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C., research indicates that one in four Canadians would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia. This campaign gives a voice to Canadians living with dementia who are frustrated by the constant assumptions and misinformation associated with the disease.
Since the campaign theme was first used in 2018, more than 65 Canadians with dementia, including caregivers, have become spokespeople in the campaign, aimed at taking a stand against the stigma associated with the disease.
“Unless you have experienced it firsthand, it can be difficult to appreciate the damage stigma can do to individuals and families facing dementia,” says Laurie DeCroos, Support and Education Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s North Interior, Skeena and Peace Region resource centre in Fort St. John.
“Too often, negative feelings, attitudes and stereotypes surrounding dementia dissuade people from seeking help and discourage others from lending their support. By providing a platform for Canadians to share their stories, we can cultivate empathy and compassion and help break down the stigma so that Canadians living with dementia can live a full life.”
To read personal stories and find out how you can help in the fight against dementia stigma, visit ilivewithdementia.ca.
More than half a million Canadians are living with dementia today. Many more are family members who provide direct care or are otherwise affected by dementia. In the next 12 years, nearly a million Canadians will be living with dementia.
The site also features practical information and downloadable materials, including key myths and facts about the disease, as well as social media graphics to help spread the word about the campaign.