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Campaign aims to end stigmas surrounding dementia

VANCOUVER, B.C.- The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is working to end the stigmas around dementia.

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

According to a new study by the society, 46 per cent out of 1500 people surveyed, ages 18 to 65, said they would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia.

61 per cent of people surveyed said they would face discrimination if they had Alzheimer’s.

“They are afraid that, you know, they are not going to know people anymore,” said society spokesperson Jane Hope.

“They are afraid of all of the symptoms, most of which can be managed. I think that what happens is that we tend to build things up to be much bigger than it can be. That’s not to say that it can’t be a very difficult disease to live with, but there are ways to manage it and to live well with dementia.”

Hope added that one of the things people with dementia have told her is that they get frustrated dealing with symptoms.

“They are having a good day, they look fine in the early stages of the disease and friends will say to them ‘oh, you don’t have dementia, you look perfectly fine,’ and they do and they can be struggling but they still can look fine,” she explained.

“Dementia is not all about the end stage symptoms.”

A website, I Live with Dementia, features stories from people living with dementia.

That site can be viewed through this link.

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