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Beacon of HOPE Wellness Committee: Overcoming the stigma related to Alzheimer’s

June 12, 2019
By Kathy Schwarzhoff-Dutko , Pine Island Eagle

Facing stigma is often a primary concern of people living with Alzheimer's and their care partners. Those with the disease report being misunderstood because of the myths and misconceptions others have about the disease.

Stigma is the use of negative labels to identify a person with a disability or illness. Stigma around Alzheimer's disease exists, in part, due to the lack of public awareness and understanding of the disease preventing people from:

- Seeking medical treatment when symptoms are present

- Receiving an early diagnosis or any diagnosis at all

- Living the best quality of life possible while they are able to do so.

- Making plans for their future

- Benefitting from available treatments

- Developing a support system

- Participating in clinical trials.

Sigma and lack of awareness also impacts Alzheimer's disease research. The government funds Alzheimer's research at lower rates than other diseases, even when the cost of caring for Alzheimer's disease is significantly higher. Next month I will provide some examples of stigma and how to overcome them.

If you are a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's or related dementia, please take advantage of the various support groups and services available. The Alzheimer's Associated has a 24-hour Helpline. You can call 800-272-3900 at any time for any reason and a trained counselor will assist you.

The Beacon of HOPE hosts a "Caregiver Support Group" every third Monday of the month at 10 a.m. Also, on Monday, June 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a presentation from the Area Agency on Aging regarding the SHINE program, which helps seniors with healthcare insurance decisions. Elder Law Attorney Beth A. Prather will be sponsoring lunch for the SHINE attendees.

The Beacon is located at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St. James City. Call 239-283-5123.



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