January is Alzheimer Awareness Month

January 5, 2016


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It is possible to continue to live well with dementia, but unfortunately half of Canadians do not believe that.

January is Alzheimer Awareness Month, and the Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce is joining with the Alzheimer Society of Canada to challenge the perception that so many people still hold.

"We are pleased to be part of the #StillHere awareness campaign launched this month as part of the ongoing campaign to reduce the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia," said Deborah Barker, Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce.

"Life doesn’t end with a diagnosis of dementia," Barker said. "People living with dementia can continue to participate in life and to contribute within their own families and in their community, even as the disease progresses. Unfortunately that’s not the view of many Canadians, according to a Nanos research survey."

According to the Nanos survey, Canadians are divided about whether someone with dementia can live well. While women were slightly more positive than men, the survey found 47 per cent of respondents, aged 18 and older, disagree compared with 47 per cent who agree.

"Words and actions are powerful and can change the story of dementia," said Mimi Lowi-Young, CEO at the Alzheimer Society of Canada. "That’s the goal of our campaign, to dispel the myths around what it means to live with dementia and encourage all of us to see the person beyond the condition."

"A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t rob someone of their individuality or their feelings," said Sandra Hong, Education Co-ordinator for the Grey-Bruce Society. "Understanding this goes a long way towards respecting and engaging people with this disease and preserving their identity."

To that end Hong has developed a presentation designed to expand the understanding of dementia, and to help caregivers, family members and friends to understand and support affected individuals.

"It is important to understand that it is still your loved one or friend, it is not the disease," she said. “The person is still there.

"A supportive environment and a recognition of the abilities that are still there are important to helping an individual with dementia maintain independence and the best possible quality of life for as long as possible," adds Hong. "Remember, the person you knew and loved is still there.”

Hong is available to make presentations to service groups, social organizations, the faith community, and as part of health and safety awareness within the workplace.

For more information, contact Sandra Hong at: or at 519-376-7230 or 1-800-265-9013.




Tel: (519) 376-7230 1-800-265-9013

Fax: (519) 376-2428



Charitable Registration Number:

11878 4982 RR0001



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Barker said there are many ways to get involved with the #StillHere campaign (supported by the KPMG Foundation) at:

  •  Watch a 30-second video and share it with others ·
  • Complete an online quiz to help us build a picture of public perceptions
  • Read personal stories from people living with dementia, and share your own experience
  • Get practical advice on how you can support people with this disease or support the Alzheimer Society of Grey-Bruce
  • Become a Dementia Friend by visiting 

Nanos Survey

In July 2015, the Alzheimer Society participated in a Nanos omnibus survey to gauge Canadians’ knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. We polled 1,000 Canadians aged 18 years and older and added an oversample of 500 women, 40 years and older. To learn more about the survey, visit 

Facts about Alzheimer's:

* 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias today, a number expected to increase to 1.4 million in the next 15 years.

* Three out of four Canadians know someone with dementia.

* Women represent 72 per cent of Canadians living with Alzheimer’s.

* For every person with the disease, two or more family members provide care. Women account for 70 per cent of family caregivers.

* In 2011 alone, caregivers spent 444 million unpaid hours providing care. That’s the equivalent of $11 billion in lost income or 230,000 full-time jobs.

* Dementia costs the Canadian economy $33 billion per year. By 2040, that figure will skyrocket to $293 billion per year.

 * Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia. After age 65, the risk doubles every five years.

* Dementia also occurs in people in their 50s, 40s and even in their 30s.

* Dementia is progressive. Progression varies greatly from person to person and can last between eight and 10 years – or even longer.

* Dementia is fatal. Its causes are not fully known, and there is still no cure or effective treatment to prevent or reverse the disease.

* Dementia is a collective term to describe brain disorders whose symptoms include decline in memory, reasoning and communication skills; gradual loss in ability to carry out day-to-day activities, and changes in personality and behaviour.

* Dementia can be present in the brain for up to 25 years before symptoms appear.

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