The executive director of the Alzheimer Society of Cornwall and District is excited about this year’s national awareness campaign.
“What’s cool about this year is the information is coming directly from the experts, the people living (with dementia) each day,” said Shelley Vaillancourt, just after being joined by Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement at city hall on Thursday afternoon to commemorate January as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month with a raising of the society’s flag.
This year’s campaign is focusing on people living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, and erasing the stigma. The campaign title is: “Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.”
“We’re turning the conversation over to the experts,” said Pauline Tardif, CEO at the Alzheimer Society of Canada. “We believe sharing stories of Canadians living with dementia will fuel a more open, supportive and inclusive dialogue around dementia.”
There is work to be done. In a 2017 online survey commissioned by the Alzheimer Society, 51 per cent of Canadians admitted they had used derogatory or stigmatizing language about dementia; about 30 per cent of those said they had told dementia-related jokes.
More than half a million Canadians are living with dementia.
Dementia is a general term referring to a variety of brain disorders, and the number of people affected is expected to grow to over 900,000 in the next 15 years.
Vaillancourt said there are 3,600 people in the five local counties who are living with dementia.
“That number will double by 2031,” she said.
But Cornwall is a dementia-friendly community, and more and more businesses and organizations are getting on board.
“We’re willing to (work with) organizations and businesses, if they touch base with us,” Vaillancourt said.
Free training is available until March 31 of this year, and more information can be obtained by contacting Vaillancourt at 613-932-4914 ext. 204, or email email@example.com.
Also note that the Soup’s On fundraising event for the Alzheimer Society is Jan. 22 at the civic complex.
The Alzheimer Society is a nationwide, not-for-profit network of provincial and local societies and volunteers. The Cornwall and District chapter was established in 1985 as a self-help group, and it received charitable status in 1986.
The chapter serves SD&G, Akwesasne, Prescott and Russell.