(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

Giant gnome finds new home at Galey Farms in Saanich

‘Howard’, the iconic Nanoose Bay attraction, will be moved as soon as possible

Man ticketed by Oceanside RCMP after trailer flips on Highway 19

Incident caused delays to southbound traffic

Inspirational Parksville youngster Kaiden Finley dies after cancer battle

‘He was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Development cost charges considered to fund regional parks

DCCs to assist in funding land acquisitions and development

Parksville powerlifter qualifies for world championships

Buhler sets personal bests in both raw and equipped lifting events

VIDEO: 13-year-old killed in B.C. crash that involved five kids

The children range in age from six to 17.

Study: Why Canadian police should have a dedicated animal cruelty unit

People view fighting animal cruelty as a public responsibility

Convicted pedophile from B.C. raises fears after move to Ontario

Police have issued a warning about Madilyn Harks in Brampton

Mystery plane wakes up B.C. residents

An aircraft circled Langley City over the weekend after midnight for about an hour

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

British Columbians are paying more for booze but also broccoli

Victoria’s inflation was 2.3 per cent, a tick above Vancouver’s of 2.2 per cent

Island Health announces funding for 52 projects on Island

$750,000 will go to fund these projects

UPDATED: IHIT investigating fatal crash in Surrey

Three people dead, investigators expected to be at scene ‘for significant amount of time’

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Most Read