The human side to dementia

The numbers from the recent Rising Tide study are startling, cold, and stark. But you know what? For me they are personal.

I am one of about 70,000 British Columbians currently living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. I am under the age of 65, not yet what is considered a “senior”.

Living with the disease has meant forfeiting the feeling of independence, but I’m not ready to give up the right to choose how I live my life.

Now is the time for me to do my part and give back to society by volunteering and making a difference. I now advocate and educate encouraging more dialogue, more understanding and more to be done to find a cure for the disease. Did you know, for example, people are being diagnosed with a dementia in their 40s and 50s? But with an early diagnosis comes early interventions.

We each make choices every day. Some are big decisions, and others we make out of habit. Awareness influences our decisions. I hope this month we all make a choice to be more informed about brain health.

Come out and support the 70,000 individuals and families in B.C. who are living with dementia. Register for the Investors Group Walk for Memories taking place January 31, 2010 in communities across B.C. Visit www.walkformemories.com.

Jim Mann

Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007

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