(Pxhere photo)

‘There is a life to live after a diagnosis’: UBC study probes stigma of dementia

Researchers aim to identify and break down barriers that socially isolate people with dementia

Half a million Canadians are living with dementia, but many are hiding their illness from their friends and community out of fear. A new study is hoping to break through the stigma.

University of B.C. researchers Alison Phinney and Deborah O’Connor have teamed up with Jim Mann, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 12 years ago, to spend the next four years speaking with British Columbians who are living with dementia and find out exactly what barriers exist.

Mann’s life was first touched by Alzheimer’s in the early 2000s, when his mother had dementia. He was later diagnosed with the same disease in 2007.

“When you receive a diagnosis of dementia, it is too easy to retreat and assume an inability to remain positive,” Mann said.

Since then, Mann has been an active voice in the dementia community, volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C. and spreading awareness about memory-loss symptoms.

READ MORE: Dementia villages offer secured freedom to aging B.C. patients

READ MORE: B.C. paramedics to be trained in at-home care for seriously ill, end-of-life patients

While dementia is not a specific disease itself, it is an overall term for symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain. There are four main kinds of dementia, but as many as 50 similar types.

Symptoms can include memory loss, difficulties with thinking or problem-solving, and misunderstanding language. Because dementia is progressive, the symptoms will gradually get worse as more brain cells become damaged.

Roughly 25,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. The Alzheimer’s society said by 2031, as many as 937,000 Canadians will be living with the illness.

The aim of the UBC-based study is to develop ways to support dementia patients in being social and active in their communities.

“There is a life to live after a diagnosis of dementia,” Mann said.

Anyone wishing to take part can contact the research team by email or call 604-551-0459.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

Mental health facility will have 25 beds, up from 20 in current facility

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Gallery: Project Heavy Duty inspires students into it’s 32nd year

The event is a collaboration between SD91 and industry in and around Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James

Telkwa pot plant application passes review

Cannabis company claims new Health Canada regulations are working in its favour

Madison Scott’s mother hosts event to keep search for her missing daughter alive

Eight years ago, the Vanderhoof teenager disappeared, and the RCMP continue to chase leads

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Terrace hospital’s business plan approved

Health Minister’s announcement opens door to construction phase

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Most Read