Seeking Positive Pathways

Carol Waarala, MSW, LMSW, Certified Specialist in Aging & Dementia

Let’s Talk About It: Dementia Myths & Stigma

myths-and-stigmaThere are many types of dementia and it is perceived in many different ways:

  • As a disease of the brain
  • As a part of normal aging
  • As a mental illness

DEMENTIA IS OFTEN SPOKEN OF IN TERMS OF… something dreaded, a curse, a burden, the long good-bye, a battle, a plague, or a living death.

All of these negatives cause increased isolation, fear, shame, silence, ignorance, loneliness, frustration, anger, feelings of worthlessness, and many more. Why do we use all the negative labels, stereotypes and stigma surrounding dementia? Part of it is lack of knowledge; part is having misconceptions about dementia; and part of it is the history of how people with dementia have been treated. Part of it is fear and ignorance.

This presentation will examine where all these negatives have come from and explore many of the misconceptions about dementia. We can’t cure dementia, but through education and knowledge we can help break down the isolation and stigma of this disease.