In a recent article entitled “Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand” by Megan Gillis and featured in the Ottawa Citizen, Gillis introduces us to Keith Barrett, a 59 year old man diagnosed with early onset dementia two years ago. Barrett has become part of the Alzheimer’s Society’s newest campaign to help try and rid the stigma that tends to accompany dementia.
“The campaign — “Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.” — aims to change attitudes the Alzheimer’s Society uncovered with recent research that showed that one in four Canadians said they’d feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia. One in five admitted using derogatory or stigmatizing language about dementia.”
“It might make people afraid to seek a reason for their own or a loved one’s symptoms like memory loss, changes in judgment and reasoning or mood and behaviour and difficulty performing familiar tasks or expressing themselves. So they don’t get the support and treatment they need. Barrett notes, “That’s what we want people to understand. The moment you get diagnosed doesn’t mean you’re the person who needs a lot of care. The moment you get diagnosed is the moment you say, ‘I’m going to work really hard to keep everything that I have, all my skills, my abilities, for as long as I can.””
Reducing the stigma of dementia is a good first step in understanding not only the challenges of dementia, but its toll on both the patient and their loved ones. To read more about Keith Barrett’s experience: https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/yes-i-live-with-dementia-let-me-help-you-understand
Photo credit: http://Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash
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