TORONTO – Canadians living with dementia are going public for a third consecutive year in an effort to change hearts and minds and tackle the ongoing discrimination they experience in their day-to-day lives.
“When did it become a crime to forget something?” asks Manitoba resident Tanis, a former nurse living with vascular dementia.
“I want to get the word out that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, let’s get rid of that stigma so that people can talk about dementia and get the help they need.”
Tanis is one of many Canadians who are courageously stepping forward with their personal stories in the Alzheimer Society’s nation-wide campaign, “I live with dementia. Let me help you understand”, launched on Jan. 6 as part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
Spurred by alarming research indicating that one in four Canadians would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia, the campaign gives a voice to Canadians with dementia who are frustrated by the constant assumptions and misinformation associated with the disease.
“Unless you have experienced it firsthand, it can be difficult to appreciate the damage stigma can do to individuals and families facing dementia,” said Pauline Tardif, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Canada.
“Too often, negative feelings, attitudes and stereotypes surrounding dementia dissuade people from seeking help and discourage others from lending their support.
“By providing a platform for Canadians to share their stories, we can cultivate empathy and compassion and help break down the stigma so that Canadians with dementia can live a full life.”
To read the personal stories and find out how you can help in the fight against stigma, visit the dedicated campaign website at ilivewithdementia.ca.