People living with dementia often experience stigma. That is, they are treated differently based on their diagnosis of dementia. It is common for people to make incorrect assumptions about a person’s abilities or assume that a diagnosis of dementia means that someone can no longer make decisions or meaningful contributions. This is not true. Media representations of dementia often portray a narrow, stereotypical experience of dementia that fails to show the range of diverse abilities and experiences of people living with dementia.

Stigma perpetuates misconceptions of dementia and can result in the exclusion of people living with dementia from their communities. Stigma of dementia can also negatively impact the way people living with dementia view themselves and their own abilities.

Recognizing your own preconceptions of dementia and working to overcome stigma is an essential step for anyone involved in dementia initiatives.

  • Language: Words are powerful and can change how we see ourselves and others. Person-centred language focuses on the person and not their diagnosis, helping to lessen stigma and fear of dementia.
  • Understand the rights of people living with dementia: Read and apply the principles outlined in the Charter of Rights for People Living with Dementia.
  • Challenge stigma: The Flipping Stigma On Its Ear toolkit provides resources for people living with dementia, researchers, family, friends and care providers. The toolkit helps people to recognize and respond to stigma.

There are many ways to challenge stigma and create a supportive environment within and through your initiative, including the suggestions and helpful resources available below.


Resources for understanding and challenging stigma


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