Home Health Creston residents raise awareness, challenge the stigma of dementia - Creston Valley...

Creston residents raise awareness, challenge the stigma of dementia – Creston Valley Advance

"Both Willi and I knew there was something," says Stella Adams, talking about when she and her husband Willi Brombach began to suspect that Stella could live with dementia at the age of 77. "We were both seeing changes".

Since Stella's diagnosis of dementia, they have focused on staying active, eating well and staying social. They regularly go out dancing with friends on weekends and are in contact with the Alzheimer Society of B.C. become participants in Minds in Motion®, a social and fitness program for people in the early stages of dementia to attend with a care partner.

Both Stella and Willi appreciate their connection to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. Stella firmly believes in the importance of having a support network, while Willi says "Informing ourselves – understanding both what is happening and the future – has helped to make it less frightening for us".

There is a lot more to Stella than her illness, and she still has a lot of life to live.

This is the premise of the Alzheimer Society's continuing national campaign: Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand. While there is no doubt that dementia is a difficult disease, it is only one aspect of a person's history.

The campaign takes over during Alzheimer's Awareness Month (January). It showcases the unique and diverse stories of people living with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia across Canada. The aim of the campaign is to change attitudes towards the disease and erase the stigma. Life continues after a diagnosis of dementia.

"We are directing the conversation to the experts," says Mary Beth Rutherford, co-ordinator of support and education at the B.C. Alzheimer Society, which helps Creston families live with dementia. "We believe that sharing the stories of Canadians living with dementia will foster a more open, inclusive and inclusive dialogue on dementia and give confidence to others who have this disease to live their best lives."

Research shows that the stigma associated with dementia is rampant. In a survey commissioned by the Alzheimer Society last year, one in five Canadians said they felt ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia while one in five admitted using derogatory or stigmatizing language about dementia.

In addition to helping Canadians better understand dementia, the month of Alzheimer's awareness offers a platform for people like Stella and Willi to define who they are as individuals rather than being defined by the disease.

Throughout the month of January and for the rest of the year, residents of Creston are invited to visit the campaign website to learn more about the people who go on with their lives despite dementia, get advice on how to help end the stigma, test your attitudes towards the disease and download other useful resources.

To learn more about the campaign and participate, visit ilivewithdementia.ca.

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