EDUCATING ABOUT STIGMAS AND MISPERCEPTION
“We cannot change the condition, but we can
change the experience of living with it.”
~ Robert Bowles, living with Lewy Body dementia
“Stigmas about dementia build barriers that rob
me of living my life to its fullest with dementia.”
~ Alexander (Sandy) Halperin, living with Alzheimer’s dementia
Imagine living with a condition that is highly stigmatized and mostly misunderstood even by doctors. Such is the case for over 5 million Americans and their families living with dementia. Societal stigmas and misperceptions are not intentional, but nonetheless very negatively affect people and families living with dementia.
The general perception about dementia is that it is a condition marked by deficits and decline and that nothing can be done. One of the most common misperceptions is thinking that everyone with dementia is living with advanced symptoms rather than understanding that symptoms evolve generally over a long time.
When a person’s network of family, friends, doctors, neighbors, and local community members better understand dementia and its symptoms, it significantly and positively impacts everyday life for them.
HOW DAA IS ADDRESSING STIGMA & MISPERCEPTIONS
Caring Community Conversations are an antidote to misperceptions and marginalizing practices. Conversations are a simple yet powerful way to learn from one another. DAA launched the Caring Community Conversations project to create opportunities for conversations with people and care partners living with dementia. People can and do lead productive and meaningful lives with dementia if appropriately supported and encouraged:
Caring Community Conversation events are friendly, facilitated conversations with approximately 20 to 40 invited community stakeholders including individuals living with early to moderate symptoms of dementia. Their first-person perspective and experiences are invaluable. This friendly community-based conversation format is beneficially changing perceptions and understanding about living with dementia.
Caring Community Conversations can be held at an in-person event or via zoom. Contact Karen Love at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about holding a Caring Community Conversation in your community.