Jane Hope, support and education coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. for Nanaimo and the rest of the north/central Island, left, and Chris Kensit, who has dementia and advocates for awareness about the disease. (Photo submitted)

Personal stories can help address stigma around dementia

Open house in Nanaimo part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

A Nanaimo senior with dementia has become an expert on the disease following her diagnosis, and has dedicated herself to advocacy.

Chris Kensit, diagnosed with dementia in 2015, is one of the faces of this year’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Month campaign. The theme of the campaign – ‘I live with dementia. Let me help you understand’ – is meant to remove the stigma of the disease.

Kensit said in a press release that she “had a good cry” after her diagnosis.

“Because my mother lived with dementia – and now that my sister is also living with it – I had intimate knowledge of what the progression of the disease and its symptoms were going to look like,” she said.

Kensit has a science background and found that researching dementia made it easier for her to cope. She joined the B.C. Leadership Group for People Living with Dementia and has advised the Alzheimer Society of B.C. on how to support people affected by the disease and helping to spread awareness.

“I don’t think I’ve encountered stigma as much as I’ve encountered a lack of understanding about the disease – and a lack of patience,” Kensit said. “People need to understand that living with dementia means experiencing certain challenges, particularly around memory. They need to find solutions rather than getting fed up with someone when they’re struggling.”

Jane Hope, support and education coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s north and central Vancouver Island resource centre in Nanaimo, said it can be difficult for people to appreciate the damage stigma can have on individuals and families facing dementia.

“Too often, negative feelings, attitudes and stereotypes surrounding dementia dissuade people from seeking help and discourage others from lending their support,” Hope said. “By providing a platform for Canadians to share their stories, we can cultivate empathy and compassion and help break down the stigma so that Canadians living with dementia can live a full life.”

According to the press release, more than half a million Canadians live with dementia, and many family members provide care or are otherwise impacted.

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month started Jan. 6. Nanaimo residents are invited to an open house Jan. 16, 3-5 p.m., at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s north and central Vancouver Island resource centre at 4-4488 Wellington Rd.

For more information about Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, visit http://ilivewithdementia.ca or www.alzheimerbc.org.

SPONSORED CONTENT: Alzheimer’s Awareness Month shares information and understanding


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Community policing office’s closure will impact safety in the area

Strong police and bylaw presence needed in neighbourhood, say letter writers

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch in south Nanaimo

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by police after City of Nanaimo crew found it

RDN Transit to see rollout of 15 new HandyDart buses

Buses will have temporary protective barriers installed to prevent spread of COVID-19

RDN says water in French Creek still potable despite levels of iron, manganese

Strategy to improve water quality being established

United Way distributes $120,000 in federal funding to seniors in need during pandemic

Salvation Army, Eden Gardens, hospice society among groups granted money

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Beefs & Bouquets, May 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Most Read