"I live with dementia...in the Chinese community."
Canadians affected by dementia are going public for a third consecutive year in an effort to change hearts and minds. People living with the disease, their caregivers and family members are courageously stepping forward with their personal stories in the Alzheimer Society’s nation-wide campaign, I live with dementia. Let me help you understand as part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
“Getting the diagnosis was a shock,” says Brenda Wong, who with her brother and two sisters takes care of her mother Chui Foon Chao. “We had no information about the disease, only what we knew from movies.” Foon was diagnosed with dementia in 2007, after increasing memory problems.
It took two years for Brenda and her family to find their way to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. for support, after spotting a flyer promoting the Family Caregiver Series being offered in Cantonese. Attending the workshop was the first time they’d ever been in a room with other families also affected by the disease. They started to understand that they weren’t alone in what they were experiencing and that there was culturally-specific support available. “It an eye-opening experience,” Brenda says.
Since that first workshop, Brenda has become deeply connected with the Society. She volunteers as a facilitator for a support group for caregivers, helps run Minds in Motion® – a social and fitness program for people living with dementia – and is an active fundraiser. “I want to give back, to help others, because we got help.”
Brenda recognizes there’s still stigma about dementia within her community. “The Chinese community is starting to learn more about the disease and more people are becoming open about their experiences with it,” she says. “The more we talk about it, the more people are comfortable reaching out for help.”
Want to learn more?
Read the stories of more B.C. individuals and families who are affected by dementia and help us change the conversation!