How can you become the Missing Piece for someone living with dementia?


It's easier than you'd think to become part of the change! A change of mind can change someone else's life for the better.


Think about what you say

Becoming the Missing Piece for someone living with dementia can be as simple as thinking about the words you use. Instead of saying someone is "suffering from dementia" ask yourself, who says they're suffering?  They're definitely living with dementia, which can mean living well for many years.

A diagnosis of dementia doesn't have to be seen as hopeless or devastating.  But it is challenging and life-changing. The Alzheimer Society is the best resource for trustworthy help and advise on how to live well with any type of dementia, not just Alzheimer's disease.  A full range of supports and services is available free of charge, ranging from social and recreation, (Minds in Motion and Young Onset Day Service ), to  education, and support for care partners.  You don't need a diagnosis of dementia to contact our Intake Coordinator Casey to become a client.

Stop the stigma and change a life

It might surprise you to learn that there's a such a huge stigma surrounding dementia. Think about the jokes you've heard, or possibly made, about "old-timer's" disease or thoughtlessly calling someone "demented".  Words hurt. We have probably all said things in the past that we later regret. For whatever reason, dementia is one of the subjects about which it remains tacitly acceptable to say dismissive, dehumanizing, and hurtful things. Why not be part of ending this now?

Social stigma may stop people from getting an early diagnosis which is key to benefitting from new medical advances.  

There have been some exciting advances in new drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease. In every case an early diagnosis is required to benefit from these breakthroughs. Living in denial and fear of being shunned could prevent people living with dementia from receiving these treatments.

Be a friend to someone living with dementia and their care partner

"I've still got things to do!" says Janet, (our Super Model pictured above). There's a lot of living to be done following a diagnosis of dementia. Being infantalized and talked down to shouldn't come with the territory. Did you know there's a Canadian Charter of Rights for People with Dementia?  It's about time.

Pick up the phone and check in with a friend who is living with dementia; make a coffee date or just say "Hi!".  A diagnosis of dementia can be very lonely for the person living with dementia and their families but it doesn't have to be.  Don't let fear of saying the wrong thing mean saying nothing at all.  Be the Missing Piece by just being a friend.

Can you imagine never feeling relaxed and happy having dinner out with friends or going shopping for fear of doing something embarrassing?  Life is often embarrassing and messy. For all of us.  It doesn't take a lot of effort to make space for people who are living with dementia.  A little patience and understanding go a long way to including and welcoming people who don't conform to preconceived ideas of "normality".  Let's face it, who is normal?

It's time to change the picture of what dementia looks like

People are being diagnosed at earlier ages, yet the mental picture of an elderly person in the latter stages of their lives remains the central image. It's too easy to make assumptions about what dementia "looks like". Over 300,000 people in Ontario are living with dementia right now. This number is expected to triple within the next 30 years: by 2050, over 750,000 Ontarians will live with dementia.

People living with dementia are your family, friends, neighbours, maybe they're the couple at the next table in a restaurant, and one day it could be you...