The Stigma of Alzheimer’s

The Whitewater Dementia Friendly Community Initiative would like to publicly thank Randy Cruse for his advocacy work in Washington (recently reported on on behalf of persons with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.  Thank you, Randy, for your efforts to improve health care, financial support and community understanding for persons with dementia. 

Persons with cognitive decline report being misunderstood by friends, family and providers because of myths and misconceptions about their disease.  Often patients themselves misunderstand, especially when the only advice they get from their doctors is to get their affairs in order and come back in six months for a checkup.

But there is good news: the health care community is getting educated.  There is even a trend to recruit patients to serve on boards and committees to help bring their perspective for proper treatment and planning.

Stigma is the use of negative labels to identify a person with a disability or illness. It prevents patients and caregivers from taking the positive steps that can be helpful. Like any disease, cognitive decline benefits from good habits of nutrition, sleep, exercise and health care.  Make sure hearing or vision loss is properly treated.  Seek out and share accurate information. Maintain relationships with friends and family.  Have fun with music, games and laughter.  Developing these good habits early on can slow and ease this progressive disease.

An individual living with this disease has the most powerful voice to help raise awareness, end stigma, and advocate for more  support and research. We can learn a lot from them.   For more ideas visit

This article submitted by Dementia Friendly Community Initiative, a program of Whitewater Seniors in the Park to help inform the community about dementia and to support patients and caregivers.  New members are always welcome!  Contact or call Jennifer at 262 473 0535.  


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