For Alzheimer’s Awareness month, the Alzheimer Society of Canada – a partner organization of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) – has launched a national awareness campaign that takes aim at the stereotypes and stigma often associated with people living with dementia.
The campaign features a variety of Canadians with lived experience of dementia, and empowers them to help educate the broader public to change perception, attitudes, and ultimately behavior. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, misconceptions about what it is like to live with dementia can impose restrictions on people living with the disease, affect access to treatments, and impact their relationships and social interactions.
According to a new Leger survey, 1 in 4 Canadians would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia. Addressing stigma was recently identified as the top priority for dementia research by the James Lind Alliance. CCNA recently held a session on priority setting for dementia research and the CCNA’s Dr. Katherine McGilton spoke about a priority setting partnership which led to the identification of the top 10 questions Canadians with lived experience of dementia want researchers to answer.
The Alzheimer Society campaign comes on the heels of the Government of Canada’s commitment to a national dementia strategy. In a recent statement from the Minister of Health, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, $42 million will be allocated to the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation to test products and services supporting brain health and aging, with a focus on dementia. The strategy will also include support for the CCNA to continue their efforts on the largest study of dementia ever undertaken in Canada, which involves 1,600 Canadians across the country.
To learn more about the campaign and to help reduce stigma, visit ilivewithdementia.ca, or find it on social media using #ilivewithdementia.