Doctors support efforts to tackle stigma of dementia

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January is Alzheimer Awareness Month and doctors in the province encourage Nova Scotians to become educated about dementia and help remove the stigma associated with the disease.

An estimated 747,000 Canadians now live with dementia, a number expected to double to 1.4 million in the next 20 years as our population ages. That’s why it’s more important than ever to tackle stigma surrounding dementia.

Stereotypes and misinformation are factors that often prevent people with dementia from getting the help they need.

Dementia is a syndrome consisting of symptoms such as loss of memory, judgment and reasoning, and changes in mood, behaviour and communication abilities that affect a person’s ability to function. Dementia is more than having the occasional ‘senior moment’ or losing your keys. The truth is it’s a progressive degenerative brain disorder that affects each person differently. It’s fatal and there is no cure.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. It’s described as a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, which causes thinking and memory to become seriously impaired.

During Alzheimer Awareness Month doctors in the province encourage Nova Scotians to make brain health a priority. Improving overall health and leading a healthy lifestyle may reduce the risk of developing dementia.

Researchers believe there is no single cause or treatment of Alzheimer's; however living a healthy lifestyle through exercising, eating well, keeping your brain active with crosswords, Sudoku and other word puzzles, as well as engaging in social activities may help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, visit

Dr. Mike Fleming, BSc, MD, CCFP, FCFP

, Doctors Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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