Its almost the end of Dementia Awareness Month, it has been and still in many areas still referred to as Alzheimer Awareness, but those living with dementia ( Alzheimer’s is just one type of dementia, have been working hard to have it changed and known as dementia awareness month. Its been a long time coming but we are finally starting to see progress, and we welcome the change. Alzheimer’s has been the most publicized type of dementia but it has given a rather negative and false few of what dementia is, much of the public has very little knowledge of the other types of dementia. This has not served those with dementia and I welcome all the hard work by all those who have spent years advocating which is finally bringing more awareness and the welcomed shift from Alzheimers awareness to Dementia Awareness.
I tweeted yesterday that I was dumbfounded that we are still having to hear statements like ” you don’t look like you have dementia”, made. There is no there illness that people have at least to my knowledge that have this type of statement made to or about, to me statements like that show a complete lack of respect for the person, and all people living with dementia, it also shows the complete lack of knowledge and highlights how much work those of us advocating still have to do.
It is not all negative though, there is so much incredible work being done, more collaboration and inclusion of people with dementia at all levels in all areas. Those advocating often feel like they are not being heard, and that changes are not happening soon enough, understandable when living with a progressive and terminal illness, never knowing how much time you have to try to see and work on getting the changes to happen, But the voices of all those are being heard, every small change, every small step bring us one step closer to have real and lasting change for those living with dementia. Things like dementia friendly communities, ( although i believe inclusive communities for all is better, the term dementia friendly to me create more segregation which is something that we are still fighting to have stopped, it is also why we work hard to educate about the importance of language.
There is many amazing people living with dementia and contributing so much to advocate on so many levels, so as the Dementia Awareness months comes to a close I want to say thank you to all of them, for all the ways they contribute, for their endless giving of themselves for the betterment of all, thank you to all those who lead the way for those of us currently advocating, and a heartfelt thank you to all those I have had the pleasure to work with, to form friendships with, you all deserve to be acknowledged, so Thank you for all you do, it is an honour to know so many incredible people.