The national awareness campaign on Alzheimer’s: Open your mind!

The national awareness campaign on Alzheimer’s: Open your mind!

MONTREAL, Jan. 8, 2018 /CNW/ – The national awareness campaign on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia begins today and lasts for the whole month of January. The theme “Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.” allows the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies (FQAS) and its 20 regional Alzheimer Societies to remind us that a person with dementia is someone who is a full member of society.

People are not defined by their disease. They are the same person before and after being diagnosed. They are human beings who need human contact, compassion and friendship, and we must all assume responsibility when faced with this disease for betting supporting them, with dignity and respect.

In fact, despite greater awareness among the general public of Alzheimer’s disease, stigmatization and discrimination continue to be some of the biggest obstacles faced by persons with neurodegenerative diseases and their families. People living with dementia sometimes feel excluded or treated differently because of their disease. That extends to their not being consulted about a diagnosis, not seeking out stimulation aids or support or them and especially not revealing that they have the disease to those who know them.

Negative reactions from friends, family members and professionals can have an impact on a person’s well-being and their capacity to manage the changes that Alzheimer’s brings. Life goes on after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is received, and it is possible to maintain quality of life while living with the disease. With adequate assistance and support, people living with Alzheimer’s can continue to do the things they love and remain active in their community for what can be many years.

“For six years, I was the caregiver for my father, who had Alzheimer’s and died last May. Taking care of him transformed my life as a young adult. I became a better person. But when talking to people about him, I realized how important it is to continue our effort to create awareness of the disease. And above all, to demystify it,” said Sabrina Lacoste, ambassador for the national campaign for the FQAS. “We have to be help people be more open-minded if we are to eliminate the negative prejudices and find ways of living each day in a positive way with a disease that will be affecting increasing numbers of people in the years to come.

We young people are the generation that will increasingly have to deal with Alzheimer’s, either as a person with the disease or as a caregiver. In fact, during this national campaign, let me help you understand.”

The campaign invites all those personally or indirectly affected by Alzheimer’s disease to open the debate, start discussions, so that from now on, the disease is seen differently, to open people’s minds for them to assume responsibility, in face of this disease. It is time to transform judgment into compassion and assumptions into understanding.

To share your story and opinions, you can go to the FQSA Facebook and Twitter pages and the pages of the national campaign. You can also visit the National Campaign website ilivewithdementia.ca and use the hashtag #ilivewithdementia.

Highlights of the Leger-led survey on Dementia Awareness

To launch the national awareness campaign, a Leger-led survey, which questioned 1500 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 65 online, also reveals that 46% of respondents would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia, while 61% of those surveyed said they would face discrimination of some kind. The survey also shows that one in four Canadians believe that their friends and family would avoid them if they were diagnosed with dementia, and only five per cent of Canadians would learn more about dementia if a family member, friend or co-worker were diagnosed.

Additional survey results

Canadians believe that people with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia are likely to

be ignored or dismissed (58%);
be taken advantage of (57%);
have difficulty accessing appropriate services or supports (56%); and
feared or met with distrust or suspicion (37%).

Other highlights

56% of Canadians are concerned about being affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Of greatest concern is their fear of being a burden to others, losing their independence and the inability to recognize family and friends.
Only 39% would offer support for family or friends who were open about their diagnosis.
Three-in-ten Canadians (30%) admit to using dementia-related jokes.

Quick facts

Today, over half a million Canadians have dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease).
In less than 15 years, an estimated 937,000 Canadians will have dementia
Alzheimer Societies across Canada provide programs and support services for people with all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, and their caregivers.
The Alzheimer Society is a leading Canadian funder of dementia research and has invested to date, over $50 million in bio-medical and quality-of-life research through the Alzheimer Society Research Program.
Sabrina, and the many regional ambassadors of the national campaign, from Alzheimer Societies all across Quebec, invite all Quebecers affected in any way by Alzheimer’s disease to visit the FQSA website at www.alzheimerquebec.ca and the official national site of the ilivewithdementia.ca campaign, so they can:

Obtain the complete Léger survey;
Find the inspiring stories of national campaign ambassadors;
Find advice on how to be more empathetic to people with the disease;
Answer questionnaires that let them test their knowledge;
Find other resources for responding to stigmatization and becoming better informed about the disease.
About the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies (FQAS)

For more than 30 years, the FQSA has represented, supported and defended the rights of the 141,000 Quebeckers affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and their caregivers. It acts as the provincial spokesperson for the 20 Alzheimer Societies present in all Quebec regions and offering persons affected and their caregivers, through programs, services and training, support and guidance to allow them to preserve the best possible quality of life. Moreover, the Federation raises public awareness of the personal and social consequences for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases and contributes to research on their causes, treatments and cure.
For information: http://www.alzheimerquebec.ca

SOURCE Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies

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