Days, weeks, and months that highlight important health concerns are invaluable in raising awareness and informing people on new medical advances and possible prevention. Events are promoted by professionals in the health community or health-related organizations.

There are many to take note of. March is Nutrition Month, Mental Health Week is recognized in May, and World Diabetes Day falls in November. September was an important month for seniors because it was World Alzheimer’s Month.

Originally launched seven years ago, the intention was to erase the stigma when it comes to dementia, but there is still a lot of work to do.

According to the definition on the Alzheimer Society Canada website, ‘Dementia is an overall term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain’. You’ll find similar definitions on other health-related websites as well.

Many families, even today with all of the promotional material and facts available, either ignore, hide or do not address the early signs of dementia. With 564,000 Canadians currently living with dementia and 25,000 new cases diagnosed every year, it is time to break down these barriers.

We need to ensure that those living with dementia have the support they need whether that’s from their physician, caregiver, friends or family members. People with dementia need to be treated with respect and dignity. Educating yourself on how to care for people living with dementia and recognizing the early symptoms are important first steps.

Some of the most common symptoms of dementia include:

  • Declining memory
  • Difficulties with thinking and language
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Difficulty doing familiar tasks
  • Changes in mood or behaviour
  • Withdrawal
  • Misplacing things, difficulty keeping track of things
  • Poor judgement

If you have been diagnosed with dementia or suspect someone you know may be living with dementia talk to a health care professional and look for resources that can help you today and in the future.