Awareness Month 2023: Taylor

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

man and wife smiling together looking into camera

One in two British Columbians believe that a dementia diagnosis means the end of a meaningful life – but this isn’t the case at all. Throughout January, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is recognizing Alzheimer’s Awareness Month by flipping the script on stigma associated with dementia and highlighting amazing individuals on the dementia journey who continue to find moments of joy, peace and happiness despite the many challenges of the disease. British Columbians affected by dementia continue to live full and meaningful lives, showing those around them to enjoy today.

Among those sharing their story are Taylor and his wife Karen of Chilliwack, B.C. There is no person Taylor would prefer by his side on his dementia journey than his wife and best friend, Karen. After 34 years of marriage, several moves, and a stint at RV life, the couple finds happiness in their love for one another. “Having my partner here brings me joy. We could be sitting like we are right now, just sitting at the dining table drinking coffee. We can laugh about a joke or reminisce about dinner with friends. But we can also have serious conversations, conversations about our dementia journey,” Taylor explains. 

Diagnosed three and a half years ago with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the first symptoms showed as general forgetfulness. While things progressed slowly, Taylor observed a change in his way of thinking that was noticeable enough to cause concern. Soon, the doctor confirmed early-stage dementia, and despite an inkling that might be the case, for Taylor, the diagnosis felt like a bomb going off.

Long before his diagnosis, Taylor had a successful career in radio and television. Discovering a passion for broadcasting early on, a teenage Taylor and his friends built their own radio studio in Vancouver where they would spend hours every Saturday recording their own show.

He soon found work with UBC’s radio station, then as an all-night DJ in Prince George, before moving to Edmonton to work in television. Returning to Vancouver, he quickly landed a job with Fuji Film, where he was eventually promoted to Vice-President, a role that would require relocation to Toronto. So, Taylor and Karen packed their things and moved across Canada, making Toronto their home for the next eleven years

Following Taylor’s initial diagnosis, the couple wanted to be closer to family. After eleven years away, they moved back to B.C., first living on the road in their R.V., then in South Surrey. But with Taylor’s MCI progressing into early-stage dementia, the need for support grew. With so many of Karen’s relatives living in Chilliwack, the couple decided it would be the perfect place to settle down. Karen’s brother, Russell, decided to move in with them, ready to become more involved as Taylor's dementia progresses. The rest of the family echoes the sentiment.

“My sister and her husband live five minutes away, her daughter and family are seven minutes away, and my brother is living with us. It’s very comforting knowing we have support,” says Karen. 

Along with their family, Taylor and Karen have found support through the Alzheimer Society of B.C. Taylor’s doctor connected them with the Chilliwack branch, where they have regular phone check-ins with Society staff, joined support groups and workshops and regularly attend Minds in Motion®. “We’ve been exercising to some great music and we’re having great fun with that!” says Karen.

They are also learning a lot. “In one of our workshops, I had an “ah-ha” moment. I hadn’t realized, even if people are living with dementia, it doesn’t mean the end of a meaningful life. And that had never really occurred to me, I was a little surprised about it,” Karen recalls. “You have to continue to make your life meaningful, just as you did before the diagnosis.”

Taylor has found that the Society has helped him share his story and become more at peace with himself. “I’ve accepted my diagnosis and what’s happening in my life. I'm embracing it,” he says. “I’m here now, with Karen, spending time with her. We really lift each other up, I'm so grateful for her. I'm still breathing and enjoying life, so yeah, I've got it made.”

Learn more about the campaign

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