The executive director of the Alzheimer Society of Cornwall and the District is excited about this year's national awareness campaign.
"What's cool about this year is that the information comes straight from the experts, the people who live (with dementia) every day," said Shelley Vaillancourt, shortly after joining Mayor Bernadette Clement in town hall on Thursday afternoon to celebrate January as Alzheimer's Awareness Month with a society flag raising.
This year's campaign is focused on people living with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, and eliminating stigma. The campaign title is: "Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.
"We are directing the conversation to the experts," said Pauline Tardif, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. "We believe that sharing stories of Canadians living with dementia will fuel a more open, supportive and inclusive dialogue around dementia."
There is work to be done. In a 2017 online survey commissioned by the Alzheimer Society, 51% of Canadians admitted using derogatory or stigmatizing language about dementia; About 30% of those interviewed said they had told dementia-related jokes.
More than half a million Canadians are living with dementia.
Dementia is a general term that refers to a variety of brain disorders, and the number of people affected is expected to grow to more than 900,000 over the next 15 years.
Vaillancourt said there are 3,600 people in the five local counties living with dementia.
"That number will double until 2031," she said.
But Cornwall is a dementia-friendly community and more and more businesses and organizations are sticking to it.
"We are willing to (work with) organizations and companies if they are based on us," Vaillancourt said.
Free training is available until March 31 of this year, and more information can be obtained by contacting Vaillancourt at 613-932-4914 ext. 204, or e-mail [email protected]
Also note that the soup fundraising event for the Alzheimer Society is on Jan. 22 at the Civic Complex.
The Alzheimer Society is a national nonprofit network of local and provincial volunteer societies and volunteers. The chapter of Cornwall and District was established in 1985 as a self-help group, and received charity status in 1986.
The chapter serves SD & G, Akwesasne, Prescott and Russell.