Alzheimer’s Awareness Month has drawn to a close and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. wants to thank people in the Okanagan for the role they play in helping us change the conversation about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias – by raising awareness of the disease and challenging the stigma associated with it.
While our vision – for a province where people affected by dementia are welcomed, acknowledged and included – hasn’t changed, the path from here to there may seem a lot more challenging, close to two years into a global pandemic. People affected by the disease are experiencing greater isolation and upheaval than ever before. In an increasingly uncertain world, it is so important to show people they’re not alone.
There are people reading this who are concerned about dementia or have recently received a diagnosis. You may be feeling anxious about what lies ahead. We hope you don’t shut yourself off from the people around you. Let them know you’re still here. You can still have an impact in your community and on the world around you. You can share your story, become an advocate, participate in research. It starts with asking for support.
The conversation doesn’t begin and end with January’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. We hope that people in the area and around the province will continue to show support for the people around them who are affected by dementia. We all have a role to play, as volunteers, advocates, fundraisers and supporters. Together, we are working towards our vision.
If you or someone you know is concerned about or affected by Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, please call the First Link® Dementia Helpline (1-800-936-6033) to learn about the disease or find out about support groups and other services available in the North and Central Okanagan region. Support is also available in Mandarin or Cantonese at 1-833-674-5007 and in Punjabi at 1-833-674-5003. Learn more about us at alzheimerbc.org.
Maribeth Friesen is Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s manager of regional services for the North and Central Okanagan