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“Don’t put us at the bottom of the list for treatment just because of our diagnosis.”

“Don’t put us at the bottom of the list for treatment just because of our diagnosis.”

When Mario Gregorio was diagnosed with dementia 12 years ago, he was determined to continue to live a full life as long as he could. As a volunteer for the Alzheimer Society of Canada, Mario, who lives in Burnaby, B.C., has educated thousands of people about the condition, and helped write the Canadian Charter of Rights for People with Dementia in collaboration with the Society’s Advisory Group of people living with dementia. So, when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, and news…

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“Let us help you understand.” Learn how Canadians living with dementia are shining light on the stigma they face.

“Let us help you understand.” Learn how Canadians living with dementia are shining light on the stigma they face.

Everyone’s experience with dementia is unique – whether they are someone who has dementia, a caregiver or a family member of someone who is diagnosed. Each person has their own unique story to tell, even as they battle the stigma that faces them as someone living with dementia.  With January being Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Canada, the Alzheimer Society would like you to meet some of these people, and hear their stories. Read on to understand how Canadians living with…

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The world doesn’t end when you have Alzheimer’s: Isabel and Michael’s story

The world doesn’t end when you have Alzheimer’s: Isabel and Michael’s story

Isabel, a retired teacher, and Michael, a military veteran, live in Victoria, British Columbia. Happily married for more than 50 years, they first met at a mess hall in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, in 1961. Today, Isabel is living with Alzheimer’s disease. Here, Michael tells the story of their life after diagnosis. My wife, Isabel, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in January 2011. At that time, she was 70 years old. I had been aware for a year or so that…

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“Do the right thing.” Challenging stigmas and stereotypes against dementia.

“Do the right thing.” Challenging stigmas and stereotypes against dementia.

Irene Fantopoulos lives in Toronto, Ontario. Besides working for the Ontario Public Service, she also is a caregiver for her mother, Mary. After reading about #ilivewithdementia.ca, Irene was inspired to tell her own story regarding her experiences with stigma against people living with dementia and their caregivers. By Irene Fantopoulos I recently wrote an article for the Ontario Public Service about my mother Mary. Mom has a mixed diagnosis of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Her condition is compounded by…

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My dementia caregiver journey: An unexpected path to enlightenment

My dementia caregiver journey: An unexpected path to enlightenment

I’ve read plenty of articles about how dementia changes the person diagnosed with it; but a commentary on how the dementia journey changes you, a loving family member, friend or caretaker, is much harder to come by. That being said, I’ve come across valuable guidance on how to interact with a person with dementia (Teepa Snow), the benefits of caretaker “self-care” (it is a marathon, not a race), the raw emotional impact (Jann Arden), and insights regarding all stages of…

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Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand: Lisa Raitt

Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand: Lisa Raitt

Lisa Raitt, Member of Parliament for Milton, and her husband Bruce Wood, diagnosed with dementia at 56, live with dementia, and during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, they’re sharing their story to help you understand. In 2015, Julianne Moore won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a woman with young onset Alzheimer’s disease in the movie Still Alice.  I love movies and always have, but I rejected the notion of ever seeing this one. I was ignorant of what Alzheimer’s…

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Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand: Robin Barrett

Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand: Robin Barrett

Robin Barrett lives in Ottawa, Ontario, where she supports her husband, Keith, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. My husband Keith was diagnosed with young onset dementia (YOD)—probable Alzheimer’s in December 2016 at 57 years old. This was following about two and a half years of seeing various specialists. At one point, he had seen about six different neurologists. Keith and I have been together since 2004 and married in June 2016. We eloped together in New Orleans and it…

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Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand: Keith Barrett

Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand: Keith Barrett

Keith Barrett, 59, lives in Ottawa, Ontario with his wife Robin. For over 20 years, Keith has co-owned a business supporting adults and children with developmental and physical disabilities. He continues to work full-time. Keith was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in December 2016. The news was that I had young onset dementia (YOD)—specifically, Alzheimer’s—was difficult news to hear and I couldn’t believe it. I was retested in the spring of 2018 as I did not present as having young onset,…

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Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand: Jane Kennedy

Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand: Jane Kennedy

Jane Kennedy lives in Newmarket, Ontario, where she works as a teacher. She is also a caregiver to her mom, Eileen, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. My mom was officially diagnosed at age 84. However, there were signs already of dementia for some time. The diagnosis didn’t come as a complete surprise because my grandmother had it and I was already seeing some early signs with my mom. I would say though that I also experienced some…

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Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand: Ron Robert

Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand: Ron Robert

Ron Robert, 81, lives in London, Ontario. Highly interested in politics, Ron worked as a journalist for two decades covering the British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan provincial legislatures before working the western desk for then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Ron was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2015. My family and I are very familiar with Alzheimer’s—so my diagnosis, while upsetting, was not a complete surprise. I have two siblings who were also diagnosed with the disease. Even though there is a…

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