Facing stigma, or the use of negative labels to identify a person with a disability or illness, is often one of the primary concerns of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Stigma around dementia, which is often due to lack of public understanding and awareness, can often prevent people from seeking treatment, developing support systems, or enjoying a full quality of life.
Worldwide, 35 million people and their families are affected by dementia, and they each face stigma in their own way. Current and former members of the National Alzheimer’s Association Early-Stage Advisory Group came together to develop these five tips for overcoming stigma:
1. Be open and direct. Discussing Alzheimer’s disease is a great way to dissolve tension on the subject.
2. Communicate the facts. Access to accurate information is the first step to dispelling misconceptions and myths about Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Seek support and stay connected. A support network is critical for both those with Alzheimer’s disease, and those close to them, whether it’s a formal support group, or a network of family and friends.
4. Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes, people with Alzheimer’s will experience denial of the disease by others close to them. This is not a reflection of the person with Alzheimer’s—see it as an educational opportunity.
5. Be a part of the solution. Self-advocacy and speaking out for others will raise awareness and dismantle stigma.
Raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and diffusing stigma can be as simple as wearing purple—the trademark color of Alzheimer’s advocacy—and speaking up! Show support for those affected by Alzheimer’s by making their cause visible. For more information about advocacy, visit alz.org.
At AlmaVia of Union City, we are proud to provide dignified care and services for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. For more information, call (510) 400-7250.