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5 ways to help break the stigma around dementia

Details: Written by Lauren Simpkins |

This month is World Alzheimer’s Month, and we are encouraging you to join us in reducing the stigma surrounding dementia and help improve the lives of those affected by it.

Why do we need to fight Alzheimer’s stigma?

Stigma is the use of negative labels to take away from an individual’s character and, in this case, identify them as an illness. The stigmatisation of dementia is a global problem and is due to the lack of awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s. This prevents people from seeking medical treatment, receiving an early diagnosis, living the best quality of life possible, making plans for the future and developing a support system.

How to break the stigma

One type of stigma that is becoming more common for individuals living with dementia is unkind ‘jokes’ and hurtful comments made on social media. We want to provide you with the knowledge and understanding of how to challenge misinformed comments.

How you can help break the stigma associated with hurtful dementia ‘jokes’:

1) Remind the person making the joke or comment that dementia is not the defining aspect of a person, their character or life.

2) Consider asking them how a person with dementia would feel about their comment if they saw or heard it. What one person may find funny can easily cause offense or upset for someone else.

3) Misinformed comments and jokes only contribute to the stigma around dementia. By telling the joke, they are making it harder to break the stigma for people affected by dementia now and in the future.

4) Accurate information is key to dispelling misconceptions about dementia. Encourage the person to better understand what dementia is and how it affects those living with it.

5) Stigma and stereotypes are a significant obstacle to well-being and quality of life for those with dementia and their families. We encourage you to develop your knowledge and understanding of dementia further.

Be a part of the solution

If you are interested in learning the facts about Alzheimer’s, accurate and reliable information can be found on the Alzheimer’s Society website. Alternatively, you can study a fully funded* Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Dementia Care or, if you live in Scotland, you can also study a Level 3 Certificate in Understanding the Principles of Dementia Care. These courses will provide you with the vital knowledge needed to begin tackling dementia through understanding.

*To be eligible for funding you must be aged 19 or over, reside in England or Scotland and have been living in the EU for at least the last three years. You cannot enrol onto a course that you have already completed.