(Pxhere photo)

(Pxhere photo)

‘There is a life to live after a diagnosis’: UBC study probes stigma of dementia

Researchers aim to identify and break down barriers that socially isolate people with dementia

Half a million Canadians are living with dementia, but many are hiding their illness from their friends and community out of fear. A new study is hoping to break through the stigma.

University of B.C. researchers Alison Phinney and Deborah O’Connor have teamed up with Jim Mann, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 12 years ago, to spend the next four years speaking with British Columbians who are living with dementia and find out exactly what barriers exist.

Mann’s life was first touched by Alzheimer’s in the early 2000s, when his mother had dementia. He was later diagnosed with the same disease in 2007.

“When you receive a diagnosis of dementia, it is too easy to retreat and assume an inability to remain positive,” Mann said.

Since then, Mann has been an active voice in the dementia community, volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C. and spreading awareness about memory-loss symptoms.

READ MORE: Dementia villages offer secured freedom to aging B.C. patients

READ MORE: B.C. paramedics to be trained in at-home care for seriously ill, end-of-life patients

While dementia is not a specific disease itself, it is an overall term for symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain. There are four main kinds of dementia, but as many as 50 similar types.

Symptoms can include memory loss, difficulties with thinking or problem-solving, and misunderstanding language. Because dementia is progressive, the symptoms will gradually get worse as more brain cells become damaged.

Roughly 25,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. The Alzheimer’s society said by 2031, as many as 937,000 Canadians will be living with the illness.

The aim of the UBC-based study is to develop ways to support dementia patients in being social and active in their communities.

“There is a life to live after a diagnosis of dementia,” Mann said.

Anyone wishing to take part can contact the research team by email or call 604-551-0459.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Hit-and-run driver knocks pedestrian into ditch in Abbotsford

Woman was walking in area of Harris Road and Riverside Street on Monday

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Abbotsford residents gather in the Clearbrook area on Monday to demonstrate against what they say is unfairt treatment by the Indian government to farmers in the Punjab region of that country. (Maan Sidhu photo)
Abbotsford residents gather to protest unfair treatment of India farmers

Locals believe new bills will devastate small farms, demand farmers be allowed to protest peacefully

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

A family emerged with a purchase at the Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St in Aldergrove on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Christmas tree season is off to an early start

People are ‘bored’ with staying home due to COVID-19 and want to decorate early, farm owner believes

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A convoy of seven pickup trucks, six of which were hauling boats, makes its way around the Chilliwack Law Courts on Dec. 1, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
First court date for Fraser River anglers ticketed during demonstration fishery

Convoy of trucks circled the courthouse in downtown Chilliwack Tuesday honking their support

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

Most Read