Thursday, Jan 11, 2018
Ending the Stigma around Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's Soc. in Chilliwack works on awareness
By Gord Wood, ASBC
Alzheimer's fundraising walk in 2013.
The Leger-led online survey, which canvassed 1,500 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 65, also reveals that 46 per cent of respondents would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia, while 61 per cent of those surveyed said they would face discrimination of some kind. According to the survey, one in four Canadians believe that their friends and family would avoid them if they were diagnosed with dementia, and only five per cent of Canadians would learn more about dementia if a family member, friend or co-worker were diagnosed.
“Stigma significantly affects the well-being of people living with dementia,” says Cyndi McLeod, Support and Education Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. for Chilliwack and the East Fraser region. “In order to build a dementia-friendly society, we need to move away from fear and denial of the disease, towards awareness and understanding.”
To tackle stigma, the Alzheimer Society is letting the experts – people affected by dementia – do the talking. One of these experts is Barb Raper, who was officially diagnosed with dementia in 2014 after noticing changes for several years. Barb and her family have a philosophy of always moving forward when dealing with the disease, and Barb encourages people to stay active and engaged, and ask for help.
Barb and others invite Chilliwack residents to hear their inspiring stories and take a few pointers from them on how to be open and accepting towards people living with dementia.
Their stories are featured on a dedicated campaign website, where visitors will also find tips on how to be more dementia friendly, activities to test their knowledge, and other resources to take action against stigma and be better informed about a disease that has the potential to affect every single one of us.
To help stop stigma and read the full survey, visit ilivewithdementia.ca – and use the hashtag #ilivewithdementia to help spread the word.