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Is it possible to live well with dementia? Half of Canadians say no



“My husband is a greeter at our local church. But people ask me all the time, ‘How can he do that? He has Alzheimer’s.’”

These compelling words are from Cathy, 53, who has been caring for her husband Boz for the past three years since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s this kind of negative attitude that the Alzheimer Society wants to change with its new #StillHere campaign, launched for Alzheimer Awareness Month.

Life doesn’t end when Alzheimer’s begins. People living with dementia can continue to participate in life and contribute to their communities – in their own way, even as the disease progresses.

Yet, that’s not the view of most Canadians who, according to a new Nanos survey, 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 the same percentage who agree.

“Words and actions are powerful and can change the story of dementia. 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,” says Mimi Lowi-Young, CEO at the Alzheimer
Society of Canada.

Recognizing that a diagnosis of dementia doesn’t rob someone of their individuality or their
feelings goes a long way towards respecting and engaging people with this disease and
preserving their identity.

Pia Kontos, a senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network, who has spent most of her career challenging perceptions of dementia, agrees.

“Our cognitive abilities alone do not define us. People with dementia can continue to engage with the world in many other meaningful ways. And supporting their dignity and worth, improves their well-being and quality of life.”

Alzheimers-Walk-Memories-MatterThe annual Walk for Alzheimers will take place at PECI from 1-3p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30.
Registration starts at 12:30 pm. Incentives are: $30 – Walk For Alzheimer’s tee-shirt.
$150 – Alzheimer Society tote bag.
$300 – Collectible teddy bear.

Prizes to be awarded for Top Fundraiser, Top Youth Fundraisers, and Top Team Fundraiser.
Pledge sheets available at the Picton Alzheimer’s office at 90 King Street. Call 613-476-2085 – or participants can register online at

REGISTER NOW… Call us or visit

#StillHere continues to change attitudes across Canada!

Life doesn’t end when Alzheimer’s begins.
Be there. For those that are #StillHere.

This is the message being shared throughout January to challenge Canadians to recognize the people who are living with dementia in their communities, and to think about ways to help them live a better life.

How well do you know dementia?
47% of Canadians believe it’s not possible to live well with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. How about you? Take the quiz to test your basic knowledge and assumptions. 


-There are 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
-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 to 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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