In past decades people were very hesitant to utter the dreaded “C” word, cancer. We have made great strides as a society by knocking down the stigma associated with cancer. We are less afraid to talk about it, we raise money, wear t-shirts touting the battle, and we support our friends and loved ones. This has been admirable and much needed progress. These efforts have played a huge role in leading to more treatments, preventions, and cures. The efforts need to continue. While our fight against cancer continues, it is also time to follow that progress and do the same with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
Individuals diagnosed with dementia or suffering from dementia-like symptoms as well as their family caregivers can become isolated because of stigma. We need to open up the conversation about dementia. Start talking about your experiences, be willing to listen and support others without judgment, and educate yourself. Fighting the stigma of dementia is essential in increasing the quality of life of individuals with dementia, their caregivers, and families. Bringing Alzheimer’s and other dementias into the spotlight and not being afraid to talk about them will play a substantial role in increasing research effort. With a greater understanding of the conditions we can look for ways to prevent, treat, and possibly even cure dementia.
If you are impacted by dementia as an individual living with the condition, a family member, or community member and want more information about dementia, please contact your local Aging & Disability Resource Center to get connected to the Dementia Care Specialist by calling 800-514-0066. There are many supports and resources available!