According to a B.C. survey conducted by Insights West in 2018, more than 70 per cent of respondents felt people living with dementia experience stigma.
Stigma, which is negative attitudes and misconceptions held by family, friends and professionals, can be a barrier that prevents people from seeking out a diagnosis if they are beginning to see possible symptoms, or it may keep them from accessing services.
This January, residents of the Cowichan Valley are invited to take part in Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, a national campaign focused on changing the general public’s perceptions of what it means to live with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Changing perceptions is key to reducing stigma, which ultimately supports people living with dementia to stay active and engaged in the community.
The Alzheimer Society of B.C. connects people living with dementia, their caregivers and family members to support and education at any point in the disease through First Link dementia support.
Cowichan Valley residents can connect to support by asking their health-care provider for a referral, by visiting their local resource centre or by calling the First Link Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033. To learn more about the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, visit alzheimerbc.org.