See me, not my disease. Let's talk about dementia.
TORONTO, Jan. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Imagine a close friend tells you she has
dementia. Would you avoid her for fear of being embarrassed by what she
might say or do? According to a recent poll by Alzheimer's Disease
International, 40 per cent of people with dementia reported they had
been avoided or treated differently after diagnosis. It's no surprise,
then, that one in four respondents cited stigma as a reason to conceal
That's why, this January during Alzheimer Awareness Month, the Alzheimer
Society is launching a nation-wide campaign called "See me, not my disease. Let's talk about dementia." Its goal is to address myths about the disease, shift attitudes and
make it easier to talk about dementia. Canadians are also invited to
test their attitudes and perceptions in an online quiz at the Society's
Stereotypes and misinformation are what prevent people with dementia
from getting the help they need and stop others from taking the disease
seriously. Dementia is more than having the occasional 'senior moment'
or losing your keys. The truth is it's a progressive degenerative brain
disorder that affects each person differently. It's fatal and there is
"Dementia really challenges the values we hold as a society and what it
means to be human," says Mary Schulz, Director of Education at the
Alzheimer Society of Canada. "We need to stop avoiding this disease and
rethink how we interact with people with dementia. Only by
understanding the disease and talking more openly about it, can we face
our own fears and support individuals and families living with
Today, 747,000 Canadians have dementia. While dementia can affect people
as young as 40, the risk doubles every five years after 65.
"A diagnosis of dementia doesn't immediately render a person incapable
of working or carrying on with their daily life," explains Schulz.
"Many people with this disease tell us they want to continue
contributing to their community and remain engaged for as long as
possible." In fact growing evidence shows that involving people with
dementia in meaningful activities that speak to their strengths helps
to slow the progression of the disease and will improve their
well-being. "Inclusion benefits all of us," adds Schulz.
The number of Canadians with dementia is expected to double to 1.4
million in the next 20 years, and Anne Harrison, 60, whose husband has
Alzheimer's disease, understands what is at stake. "If people knew more
about dementia, they could be more supportive. People aren't ashamed of
cancer. So, why should we be ashamed of Alzheimer's?"
To help change the conversation, Canadians can
Learn the facts about dementia. Help to dispel inaccurate information to
change society's attitudes and opinions towards people with the
Stop making jokes about Alzheimer's which trivialize the condition. We
don't tolerate racial jokes, yet dementia-related jokes are common.
Maintain relationships with people with dementia at home, in the
community or at work, especially as the disease progresses.
To learn more about the Let's talk about dementia campaign, visit www.alzheimer.ca/letstalkaboutdementia
About the Alzheimer Society
The Alzheimer Society is Canada's leading nationwide health charity for
people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Active in
communities right across Canada, the Society offers help for today through programs and services for people living with dementia and hope
for tomorrow by funding research to find the cause and the cure.
Video with caption: "TV PSA: Let's talk about dementia TV PSA". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20130102_C8931_VIDEO_EN_21950.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20130102_C8931_PHOTO_EN_21950.jpg&clientName=Alzheimer%20Society%20of%20Canada&caption=TV%20PSA%3A%20Let%27s%20talk%20about%20dementia%20TV%20PSA&title=TV%20PSA%3A%20Let%27s%20talk%20about%20dementia%20TV%20PSA&headline=Alzheimer%20Society%20campaign%20tackles%20stigma%20of%20dementia
Image with caption: "Photo of Anne and Ray: Anne and Ray Harrison fight dementia stigma together (CNW Group/Alzheimer Society of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130102_C8931_PHOTO_EN_21952.jpg
Audio with caption: "Print PSA: Let's talk about dementia". Audio available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/01/02/20130102_C8931_AUDIO_EN_21954.mp3
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/01/02/20130102_C8931_DOC_EN_21955.pdf
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/01/02/20130102_C8931_DOC_EN_21962.pdf
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/01/02/20130102_C8931_DOC_EN_21964.pdf
PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2013/01/02/20130102_C8931_DOC_EN_22060.pdf
SOURCE: Alzheimer Society of Canada
For further information:
Director, Media Relations
Direct line: 416-847-8920