Alzheimer’s Awareness Month has drawn to a close and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. thanks people in Smithers for the role they play in helping us change the conversation about Alzheimer’s 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.
Right now, families affected by the disease are being separated from each other by the restrictions on visitation for long-term care and assisted living introduced on January 1. If you’ve been affected, we encourage you to share your experiences with us by taking a short survey, open until February 21. By sharing your story, you can help advocate for real change. To take the survey, visit alzbc.org/LTC-survey2022.
Another way you can have an impact on the lives of people living with the disease and their families is by registering for the upcoming Breakfast to Remember. It’s a chance to help raise funds and awareness while listening to a keynote address and live Q&A with Dr. Lisa Genova, neuroscientist and #1 international and New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice. The virtual event is slated for 7:30 – 9 a.m. on March 3. Visit BreakfastToRemember.ca to learn more and purchase tickets.
The conversation doesn’t begin and end with January. We hope that people in Smithers 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 Northern Interior, Skeena and Peace 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.
Laurie De Croos
Support & Education Coordinator, First Link
Northern Interior, Skeena and Peace region
Alzheimer Society of B.C.