Each September 21st, people from all corners of the world unite to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that persists around Alzheimer’s disease and all types of dementia.
According to Alzheimer’s Dementia International, “September is World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign to raise dementia awareness and challenge stigma. Each year, Alzheimer and dementia associations, alongside all those involved in the treatment, care and support of people living with dementia … organise advocacy and information provision events, as well as Memory Walks and fundraising days.”
This year’s theme is Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s. The aim is to highlight the importance of support for people living with dementia, and their families, following a diagnosis.
World Alzheimer’s Day September 21:
Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is life changing for the person with the disease, as well as their family and friends. It’s important to know information and support are available. No one has to face Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia alone.
How You Can Support a Caregiver on World Alzheimer’s Day
Because of the way that Alzheimer’s progresses, it becomes a way of life for not just the individual but for everyone in their immediate circle. If you aren’t a caregiver but know someone who is, here are some ways that you can provide some much-needed support:
- Offer respite care, whether that’s for a few hours or a weekend. Many ASC senior homes offer respite stays for older adults experiencing cognitive decline or for their caregivers.
- Help with acts of service. Some ideas are: running errands, helping coordinate assistance or researching options that will help make their life a little easier.
- Stay in touch. Even though it may not seem like much, reaching out to the caregiver regularly will help them feel more supported.
- Provide opportunities to help, whether that’s through a gift card, a cooked meal or anything else that you’re able to give. Remember, every little bit helps.
Spend some extra time with loved ones who are experiencing symptoms of dementia. In the early stages of dementia, they will need your support as they may be fearful of the progression of the disease. In-person visits are just as important for loved ones in the later stages of dementia. Studies show that spending time with people with dementia is crucial to well-being in the later stages of the disease, even after they are unable to recognize visitors.
Let’s Talk About Dementia: 5 Ways to Break The Stigma
By 2050, nearly 2 million people Canadians could be living with dementia. That means that it is more important than ever to have a better understanding of:
- the disease
- the disorders that cause dementias such as Alzheimer disease
- the needed care and support
- how to encourage inclusion.
On September 21st, All Seniors Care communities will “Talk about Dementia”. Here are some ways that you can join in on the conversation.
1. Learn about dementia
Host a speaker from your local Alzheimer’s Society at your school, office, or residence. Many ASC communities have speaker’s and presentations on World Alzheimer’s Day. You can also watch a documentary or movie like at River Ridge I retirement residence in Edmonton. They will screen Still Alice and Alzheimer’s: Hope For Tomorrow, Help For Today.
There are also many educational and personal story videos on the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s You Tube channel.
2. Empower others by sharing your Alzheimer’s story
A great way to directly connect with others is by sharing your story. It helps others realize they are not alone, which inspires more conversation. By empowering others, you provide encouragement to friends and family.
At McCarthy Place retirement home in Stratford, Ontario, they have opened up a presentation by the Stratford Alzheimer’s Society to family so that they can connect, ask questions, and share stories.
You can also connect with your local society.
3. Wear Purple
Help raise awareness of dementia by donning your best purple threads on World Alzheimer’s Day. Share a photo of your purple outfits with the hashtag #WearPurple and #WorldAlzMonth.
4. Decorate common areas in your community or home in purple
Deck out your common area, yard, or home in purple. It’s a great conversation starter and shows that you and your family support Alzheimer’s and dementia research.
5. Make noise on social media
Add a frame to your Facebook profile to raise awareness and show your support for the cause. Make your picture one of you and your loved one who is experiencing dementia. Post on your social media to raise awareness by using the hashtags #LetsTalkAboutDementia, #WorldAlzMonth or #WorldAlzheimersDay.
Learn About ASC’s BLOSSOM Living
If you’ve been recently diagnosed, first know that there are resources and help that are available to support you and your family. While every journey is unique, and it will be difficult, there are people who live well with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
At All Seniors Care Living Centres, our BLOSSOM Living program focuses on enhancing each person’s strengths and quality of life. Whether the individual is experiencing early symptoms or requires more support, BLOSSOM Living ensures that your loved one is engaged and part of an active, inclusive community.
The initiative also increases awareness about early cognitive decline in seniors, and helps to reduce stigma by providing focused programming and resources.
Click here to learn more.
All our locations offer memory care services and amenities to support our residents living with dementia, along with other conditions that impair memory and cognition. If you aren’t a resident, but are looking for a comfortable home for yourself or a loved one, take a look at our senior communities like the Summit Heights retirement home Hamilton or the Mactaggart Place seniors housing in Edmonton.
To learn more and find out if our retirement communities are right for you or your loved one, e-mail us or call us at 1-866-797-7169.
By getting the support you need as quickly as possible, you can maintain a high quality of life while living with the disease for as long as possible.
Writer – Julianna McLeod
Julianna is a health and wellness expert at All Seniors Care. Her mission is to create content that empowers seniors to form sustainable solutions for lasting health and happiness. She is an experienced writer, editor, and Recreational Therapist living in Toronto.