Alzheimer’s Awareness Month aims to end stigma and move towards understanding

January is Alzheimer’s awareness month–an opportunity to spread awareness and reduce the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. According to the Alzheimer Society of B.C., the disease affects an estimated 70,000 people in B.C.

“Many people living with dementia will need support at some point during the disease, and every day BCCPA members are doing their best to provide people living with dementia with the care and support they need to live well–whether that be in a care home, in assisted living or in the community,” says Daniel Fontaine, BCCPA CEO.

As British Columbians live longer, more people are affected by dementia than ever before, not only as people who are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, but also as people who are caring for them, including family members, friends and care staff.

This year, the theme of the Alzheimer Society’s social awareness campaign is–I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.

“Stigma significantly affects the well-being of people living with dementia,” says Maria Howard, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. “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 Mario Gregorio, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia at the age of 58.

Stories like Mario’s 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.

“It is so important that we take the time to hear from people living with dementia. They are the real experts when it comes to what it means to be accepting towards people living with dementia,” says Fontaine. “It is admirable to see people like Mario come forward with their stories – the more people speak about what it is like to live with dementia the closer we come to creating a dementia-friendly society”.

This January help put a stop to the stigma, visit ilivewithdementia.ca, and use the hashtag #ilivewithdementia to help spread the word.

*Feature image by Alzheimer Society.