(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

Ladysmith storyteller chosen for TD Canadian Children’s Book Week

Ladysmith oral story teller Rachel Dunstan Muller recently returned from a tour of northern Quebec.

Cowichan Valley Regional District’s affordable-housing strategy moves forward

Board signs three-year financial agreement for initiatives

North Cowichan council denies rezoning bid for cannabis outlet in Chemainus

Site on Chemainus Road deemed too close to spaces frequented by youth

Get ready to hit the links in support of the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce

The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce is preparing for their 12th Annual Golf Classic.

New book from Nanaimo Historian details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

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

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

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

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban ‘smacks of defiance’

The new law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected

Oil companies, 24-cent gap between B.C., Alberta to be focus of gas price probe

Premier John Horgan called the spike in gas prices ‘alarming’

Motorcycle deaths spike 50% since 2017

Riders were most likely fatally crash on the weekends compared with the rest of the week

Mother of accused charged in death of Surrey teen girl found in torched SUV

Manjit Kaur Deo charged with ‘accessory after the fact’ in 2017 death of Surrey teen

Most Read