Dementia is NOT a Dirty Word
Last updated: February 2023
Dementia is not a dirty word, but there sure is a lot of stigma around it! Too often, the stigma around dementia prevents people from speaking openly about the challenges they are facing.
But we need to start talking about it more openly if we want to find better treatments and support for those affected. In this article, I am breaking down the stigma and progress around dementia.
The stigma around dementia
The stigma of dementia can be a daunting challenge for those who are living with the disease. Often, those with dementia are misunderstood and seen as incompetent or less capable than others.
This stigma is fueled by negative stereotypes surrounding the disease, which paint those affected as being weak or unintelligent. However, these misconceptions fail to recognize that people with dementia are still just as deserving of respect and dignity as anyone else.
Despite the stigma, it is important to remember that individuals with dementia deserve to be treated with compassion and understanding.
The tide is starting to turn
For far too long, the stigma around dementia prevented people from speaking openly about the challenges they were facing. But thankfully, the tide is starting to turn. More and more healthcare workers, caregiver influencers, and even the media, including the popular tv show This Is Us, are openly discussing dementia issues and this is a great step forward for the entire community.
Not only does this open the door for much-needed support, but it also helps to reframe the understanding of this cognitive decline.
When we talk openly about dementia, we help to reduce the shame and stigma that typically surrounds such a diagnosis. Openly discussing this condition reminds everyone that it is a cognitive disease and requires support - not shame. We acknowledge the unique challenges faced by those living with dementia and recognize the needs that they have to live fully despite their condition.
Acceptance and understanding
Additionally, talking about dementia encourages acceptance and understanding of these issues within our communities, reducing isolation and helping people feel less alone in their struggle.
Through greater openness and awareness about this condition, we create a more supportive and welcoming environment helping those affected by dementia to reclaim their lives and live with dignity.
Reframing our understanding of dementia
As we continue to learn more about dementia and its devastating effects on individuals and their loved ones, one thing is clear: we must keep pushing forward until the stigma surrounding this disease has truly been eradicated. After all, the false notions and misconceptions that currently exist around dementia do nothing but perpetuate fear and shame in those suffering from the condition, as well as in those who may be on the path to developing it.
But this mindset is simply not good enough. It does not serve us, nor does it serve those who are most vulnerable. Instead, it holds us back from actual progress. By reframing our understanding of this disease, we can open up new avenues for treatment and support. And when we look back at how far we have come towards achieving this goal, let's think not only of what remains to be done but of how proud we are of what has already been achieved in just a short amount of time.
After all, it is with unity, compassion, curiosity, and determination that progress truly thrives. Let's harness these qualities now more than ever as we work together towards a brighter future for all those impacted by dementia.
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