LETTER: Dementia campaign challenges stigma

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. thanks the people of Sooke and the West Shore for their encouraging response to January’s annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and to our campaign intended to challenge stigma surrounding the disease: “Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.”

Recently, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences released a report by a panel of dementia experts highlighting priorities for a national dementia strategy, work undertaken by the Public Health Agency of Canada in 2018.

The authors emphasized the importance of adopting healthy lifestyles that might prevent or delay dementia, as well as overcoming stigma and fear of living with dementia. They stressed that it’s possible to live well with the disease.

Increasingly, when we talk about raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, we need to talk about challenging stigma.

The dementia journey can be incredibly isolating. When we talk openly about the disease and challenge preconceived notions, people living with dementia begin to feel like they aren’t alone and can ask for help.

With more than half a million Canadians living with dementia – a number that will only grow as the population ages – it has never been so important to be open to having a conversation about dementia. It’s never been so important to change the conversation.

If your family lives with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, please contact our regional Alzheimer Resource Centre at 250-382-2052 for information on support groups and the many other services we offer to assist you. You can also call the First Link® Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033 and visit www.alzheimerbc.org.

Gabriela Townsend

Alzheimer Society of B.C.

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