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Alzheimer’s Awareness…using person-centred language

Contributed by: Tammy Arishenkoff, Program & Media Coordinator

Article Sources: Alzheimer Society of British Columbia, Alzheimer’s Awareness Month 2022, Using person-centred language, accessed January 2022 <https://alzheimer.ca/en/take-action/become-dementia-friendly/using-person-centred-language>


 

The Alzheimer Society has developed language guidelines for anyone who lives with, supports, or works with a person living with dementia. These guidelines can help you promote consistent, respectful language around dementia.


January is Alzheimer’s Awareness month in Canada, and the goal of the Peachland Wellness Centre (PWC) is to provide support to the Alzheimer Society of Canada in its effort to raise awareness and encourage members in our community to learn more about dementia. By understanding what people living with dementia experience in their day-to-day lives; their struggles, their successes and their hopes, we can reduce the stigma associated with this illness.


Why use person-centred language when talking about dementia?

Historically, language used to describe Alzheimer's disease and other dementias has largely focused on losses experienced by the person living with the disease.


While these losses are real, negative wording can promote stigma against dementia through perceptions, interpretations and approaches to care that focus on weakness rather than strength, illness rather than wellness, and victims rather than whole persons.


By being more conscious of the language we use, we can avoid reducing people living with dementia to a series of labels, symptoms or medical terms.


Human rights

The language that we use when talking about dementia should reflect the following human rights principles:

  • Respect for dignity, autonomy, freedom to make choices and independence,

  • Non-discrimination,

  • Full participation and inclusion in society,

  • Respect for difference; acceptance of disability as part of human diversity,

  • Equality of opportunity,

  • Accessibility and

  • Equality among race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, gender, sex, age and mental or physical disability.

How PWC Supports those living with the dementia and their families or caregivers.

The PWC for many years has partnered with the Alzheimer Society of BC to provide a Caregivers Support Group in Peachland. We are excited to have this group continue in 2022 with the same highly trained Volunteers available to offer the program. The program in 2022 will be hosted at the 50+ Centre to meet the needs of space and follow COVID guidelines.


The PWC also continues to offer the much-valued Adult Day Service. This service is funded by the Interior Health Authority and provides a supervised group setting, day program for individuals with dementia. This service also acts as much needed respite for caregivers.


 

The PWC is always available for you to contact by calling (250) 767-0141 Monday to Friday between 9:00 am - 3:00 pm to get information on available resources, programs and services. The PWC partners with many organizations to ensure the help you need is available.

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