This World Alzheimer’s Month, remember the lives and experiences of those living with dementia

September is World Alzheimer’s Month and this year’s theme is “Remember Me.” We invite you to remember the lives and experiences of the people around us – in our families, our social circles, our communities – who live with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. As part of our #RememberDementia campaign we’ll be engaging in real-world and social media conversations about stigma, language, inclusion and more.

Stigma about dementia still exists, but the Society is working with people around the province to change attitudes and encourage compassion and understanding.

How would you like to be remembered? Our memory helps us build and maintain our identity. It tells us who we are, the experiences we have lived, the friends and family we have and the knowledge we have accumulated over the years. Memory loss is also one of the most commonly-known signs of dementia.

What would you like people to know or remember about you? What are your fondest memories?

Recently, at some of our support groups, we asked people with dementia to talk about the kind of memories they hope to create for themselves and their families. We will be thinking about this question and sharing some of their responses this month.

Creating awareness through language. Language is our unique human gift and a most powerful means of communication. Words can inform and comfort us, excite and thrill us or inspire action. Words can also rattle our nerves, discourage our initiative and chip away at our self-confidence. We can react physically and emotionally to what is said to us and about us.

Language used to describe Alzheimer's disease and other dementias has historically been largely negative, focusing on the losses experienced by the person living with dementia. While these losses are real, this negative framing has contributed to perceptions and approaches to care that focus on weakness rather than strength, illness rather than wellness and victims rather than whole persons.

That’s why we favour a person-centred approach to communication. The way we use language makes clear that we view people with dementia first and foremost as individuals, with unique attributes, personal values and history.

Stay tuned to our website and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter this month as we continue to raise awareness and continue the conversation. We’ll also meet local writers, such as Jane Munro and Cathie Borrie, and hear about the link between their work and their experience of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.

Last Updated: 11/08/2017