Stigma and Dementia

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

Here's the definition of "stigma": a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.

It's really a shame that so often, stigma is a pure social construction based on poor understanding of a circumstance. Having an illness, for example, should never be stigmatizing and in a more informed world, it never would be.

Readers of this blog know how strongly I feel about the importance of awareness and education as parts of a solution to the growing dementia problem, specifically as it pertains to dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease. The greater the understanding and the more prevalent the discourse, the more we can reduce the stigma that holds many back from seeking help while they are still quite healthy and more likely to respond to treatment.

I recently read a great entry at one of the blogs I follow, ElderCareTalk, written by Laura Bramly. She tells an inspiring story about the strength of elders who rise above the stigma and help the rest of us see them for all that they are. I encourage you all to read it.

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