Last Friday, September 21st, was World Alzheimer's Day and in keeping with recent tradition it was also the day that Alzheimer's Disease International released their 2012 Report. This year's report focused on the stigma of dementia and included results from an international survey of people with dementia and carers as well as a collection of essays from people in the broader Alzheimer's community, including myself. A reproduction of my essay can be found below and the full World Alzheimer Report 2012 can be downloaded here.
There are few things more frightening than the thought of losing your mind. Losing those last shreds of awareness that tether you to your life and the people around you. If you’re lucky this notion will remain just that, a fear. An abstract thought that acts to occasionally cajole you into exercising more or eating better. But for others, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can turn this fear into a reality, taking a healthy mind and slowly stealing it away as they watch it happen . There are currently an estimated 36 million people living with dementia worldwide . Thirty-six million people quietly slipping away from both themselves and the loved ones who surround them. In many cases these individuals are struggling with more than just their condition alone, they are struggling with the profound stigma that remains affixed to a diagnosis of dementia.