Awareness Month 2024: Roberta

Meet one of the British Columbians sharing their stories as part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month this year.

Roberta AAM2024 spokesperson

While many people still believe a dementia diagnosis marks the end of a meaningful life, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is committed to flipping the script this Alzheimer’s Awareness Month by shedding light on the extraordinary stories of people who have discovered unexpected joy, peace and happiness while navigating the challenges of the disease. Our community has shown us that, despite the difficulties, living with dementia can inspire profound appreciation for the present. 

Throughout January, we are sharing the stories of people like Roberta Nouari, whose father is living with dementia. 

Roberta, the youngest member of her family by a significant margin, didn’t expect to land in the role of primary caregiver for her father — a stern military veteran already facing PTSD when the first symptoms began to appear almost a decade ago. Initially experiencing an incredibly short temper, Roberta’s father had a falling out with the family and his once-neat apartment descending into chaos. "To this day, my dad is in denial that he has it," Roberta says. 

The turning point came in 2019 when her father's health crisis forced her into the role of advocate, facing the daunting task of transitioning him to independent living. But life had more challenges in store. At the onset of the pandemic, her father's health deteriorated rapidly and Roberta found herself on the edge of a nightmare. Her father non-responsive and in hospital, Roberta had to face her fear of losing him. Amid the panic, a compassionate social worker suggested reaching out to the Alzheimer's Society of B.C.’s First Link® Dementia Helpline

"Making that phone call was the best decision of my life," Roberta says. It was a call that not only marked the beginning of her journey but also demonstrated the compassionate support that would become her guiding light. "The woman was so patient and so kind with me and all of my questions," Roberta recalls with gratitude. The Alzheimer Society of B.C. provided not just resources but a safe space, giving Roberta support she desperately needed. 

As her father transitioned to long-term care, Roberta discovered the therapeutic power of humor through the Society's support group. Sharing anecdotes in the support group allowed her to find levity in challenging situations. Even after leaving the group, Roberta and a coworker who shared the dementia journey experience continue to bond over the stories and experiences they encountered. Through tears and laughter, they've built a lasting connection that extends beyond the confines of a support group. 

Navigating family stigma and misconceptions, Roberta learned to set boundaries and prioritize her father's well-being. "I don't have to get people to be OK with it. I just need them to support me and support him in whatever we need." 

Roberta's perspective on dementia shifted from fear and shame to embracing the day-by-day journey. "Now I understand how amazing it can actually be when you embrace what dementia is and you enjoy it for the day by day journey," she says. 

As she finds joy in the newfound facets of her father's personality, Roberta encourages others to seek help, be advocates and embrace the journey. "Find your community and build on it with hope and patience because it doesn't need to be a lonely journey.”  

Learn more about the campaign

Want to learn more? Read some of the other stories being shared throughout the month at