Is it possible to live well with dementia? Half of Canadians say no.
Sudbury, ON, January 5, 2016 – “My husband is a greeter at our local church. But people ask me all the time, ‘How can he do that? He has Alzheimer’s.’” These compelling words are from Cathy, 53, who has been caring for her husband Boz for the past three years since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s this kind of negative attitude that the Alzheimer Society wants to change with its new #StillHere campaign, launching today for Alzheimer Awareness Month.
Life doesn’t end when Alzheimer’s begins. People living with dementia can continue to participate in life and contribute to their communities – in their own way, even as the disease progresses. Yet, that’s not the view of most Canadians who, according to a new Nanos survey, are divided about whether someone with dementia can live well. While women were slightly more positive than men, the survey found 47 per cent of respondents, aged 18 and older, disagree compared with 47 per cent who agree.
“Words and actions are powerful and can change the story of dementia. That’s the goal of our campaign, to dispel the myths around what it means to live with dementia and encourage all of us to see the person beyond the condition,” says Lorraine LeBlanc, Executive Director at the Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay & Districts. Recognizing that a diagnosis of dementia doesn’t rob someone of their individuality or their feelings goes a long way towards respecting and engaging people with this disease and preserving their identity. Pia Kontos, a senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network, who has spent most of her career challenging perceptions of dementia, agrees. “Our cognitive abilities alone do not define us. People with dementia can continue to engage with the world in many other meaningful ways. And supporting their dignity and worth, improves their well-being and quality of life.” There are many ways to get involved with our #StillHere campaign at www.alzheimersudbury.ca/stillhere:
- Watch a 30-second video and share it with others
- Complete an online quiz to help us build a picture of public perceptions
- Read personal stories from people living with dementia, and share your own experience
- Get practical advice on how you can support people with this disease or support your local Alzheimer Society
- Become a Dementia Friend
The #StillHere campaign is proudly supported by the KPMG Foundation.