“I live with dementia…in Penticton. Let me help you understand.”
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.
“I was at work when my doctor called to give me the diagnosis,” says Penticton resident Sherri Adams. Sherri was no stranger to dementia. Her mother Bev, who lives in Barrhead, Alberta, is also living with the disease, and Sherri helps her family take care of her long distance. “I was sad for a few days, but I decided that I couldn’t change it and I was going to have to live with it.”
Sherri first realized something was changing for her at work. “I’ve always been good with money, but I was finding it difficult to count cash and kept making mistakes. That’s when I realized I needed to get tested.” Sherri has continued to work, changing roles and going down to part time.
While Sherri feels lucky to have supportive people in her life, she’s found herself educating people about the disease and what she’s experiencing. Armed with a positive attitude, she’s addressed people making awkward jokes with a simple “It is what it is,” and tries to help people understand.
Sherri says that people don’t always believe her when she says she has dementia. “It’s hard for people to understand because I’m only 56,” she says. “They think it’s an old person’s disease.”
What would Sherri say to someone to help them accept their dementia? “You can’t change it – you might as well try to live your life the best that you can.”
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!