Letter: Challenging the stigma that surrounds dementia

Letter

At the end of the month-long Alzheimer’s Awareness Month campaign “I live with dementia. Let me help you understand,” the Alzheimer Society of B.C. thanks the people of Kimberley and the rest of the East Kootenay region for the role they have played in challenging the stigma that surrounds dementia.

It is important to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. With more than half a million Canadians currently living with dementia – and the number expected to 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.

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

Community members play a key role in helping people living with dementia, their families and caregivers feel like they belong, just by being aware of the disease and actively engaged with learning more about it.

Though Alzheimer’s Awareness Month ends with January, the work isn’t finished. We hope people will remain committed to changing the conversation about dementia throughout year ahead. One way is by registering and fundraising for the annual IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s, happening this year on Sunday, May 3.

The event celebrates and remembers the people in our lives who have been affected by dementia and raises funds to help the Alzheimer Society of B.C. change the future of the disease and those affected by it. Events will take place in 22 communities across the province, and across the country: to find one near you, visit www.walkforalzheimers.ca.

It’s going to take a movement of people committed to making life better for Canadians affected by dementia. Local volunteers play an invaluable role. By sharing our stories and publishing our letters, local media helps foster a better understanding of dementia’s impact on local families. Together, we are working towards our goal of a dementia-friendly province.

If your family is affected by Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, please call the First Link® Dementia Helpline to learn about the disease or find out about support groups and other services available to residents of Kimberley and the rest of the East Kootenay region. Support is also available in Mandarin or Cantonese at 1-833-674-5007 and in Punjabi at 1-833-674-5003. Learn more about us at www.alzheimerbc.org.

Carey Henry

Minds in Motion Coordinator, East Kootenay

Alzheimer Society of B.C.

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