Why are we the “untouchables”? A workshop about the stigma of dementia Lynn Jackson and Christine Bryden Dementia Advocacy and Support Network International
Transformed into an “untouchable”
Diagnosis transforms us into labeled people, into society’s untouchables
Is it our self perception or yours of us?
Is it the stigma of mental illness and the fear of that unknown?
You can’t see that our brain is diseased, so that we are having difficulties functioning
Stigma leads doctors as well as the public to deny dementia
How do we change the public’s attitude?
How did the AIDS/Cancer movements do it?
How do we avoid the stigma of giving and receiving a dementia diagnosis.
Do you think you’ll catch it?
What’s in a name?
Stigma, the BIG S
Leads to other S words:
The word dementia - "demented”, senile dementia
Any bodily sign denoting something bad.
A mark of disgrace, shame or discredit
What can be done?
Provide all possible treatment options
Give patients, not carers, the diagnosis and prognosis
Mainstream dementia services
"If you live your life out of memory, you live out of history. That's what once was. If you live your life out of your imagination, you live out of potential. That's what can be"
Dementia does not change who we are
Dementia is seen as a 'loss of self’, and a loss of competence and value.
We are living with dementia, linking together internationally to develop a 'voice’ and we are being heard.
‘Help card’ for people with dementia (Scotland)
I have an illness called dementia. I would appreciate your help and understanding. Due to my illness I sometimes get confused, feel lost, forget things, can’t manage money, can’t make myself understood. I like to be independent but I sometimes need help. Here’s how you can help me
Be patient and try to understand me
Ask how you can help me.
What about in Canada?
We are still the same people.
once a person has Alzheimer Disease, it doesn't mean you push them off.
one of my doctors said "don't (tell people)" because the more people who know, the more (I'm) put in a position of being on guard all the time.
“He who conceals his disease cannot expect to overcome it.”
How does stigma affect morbidity?
Stigma reinforces denial and minimization
Stigma is a powerful obstacle to seeking care and affects treatment adherence.
How about stigma and families?
Stigma has even more pernicious effects. Stigma kills.
We must watch our language - don’t call us “dementing” or “demented”!
Let’s stop denying stigma exists and do something about it!
Maybe we can agree there is stigma around dementia
Then what do we do about it?
Doctors, governments, professionals, families all need to change