“I live with dementia…in Prince George. 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.
Landon Short was 11 years old when his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “My dad sat me down and told me she had a brain disease, and she was going to become more forgetful,” he says. Landon was close with his grandmother, a schoolteacher who had been responsible for him learning to read. That early experience with her inspired him to go to university, where he received a biochemistry and molecular biology degree in 2016. He plans to continue his education by studying medicine.
Landon’s experience of his grandmother’s disease also led him to become a Minds in Motion® volunteer with the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s social and fitness program for people living with dementia and their care partners. “Volunteering makes me feel like I’m connecting with her,” he says.
Landon has been volunteering with the Society for three years, and this year is being honoured with an award for his dedication to supporting people in his community who are living with dementia. He says volunteering is fun and something he looks forward to every week. “I was interested because of the dementia connection, but also because I am passionate about exercise and playing games and I want to be able to share that with people.” Landon’s experience with Minds in Motion® has him considering focusing on geriatric medicine when he continues his education.
Landon hopes people will understand that dementia is progressive and is different for everyone. “People don’t get a diagnosis and suddenly everything’s gone,” he says. “Things change over time but they’re still the same people they always were.”
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!