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Are you living on a ‘lonely planet’?

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You’re probably not imagining it. Your social circle may have shrunk or slimmed down.

And not to make light of this in any way, it’s a serious topic. When people are touched by dementia, whether it’s themselves or a person they care about, they often find themselves thrust into a world that feels smaller and more isolated. Many people say that their social circles actually shrink. Some report feeling deserted, cut off or alienated at times.

It’s hardly fair (or comforting!), considering that your world has been turned upside down. You’re trying to find your way through and make sense of it all. Yet somehow, people drop off the map, or become distant.

Not to fear.

A recent poll uncovered that more people have a story of impact than you might realize.

The study was initiated by Alzheimer Calgary in a quest to understand how people felt about Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, and how many people had truly been impacted.

We learned that over half of people in Calgary and surrounding areas reported a close connection to someone who has been diagnosed with dementia in the past (either themselves, a close friend or family member).*

Picture it for a moment. That’s about every other person you meet.

When you’re grabbing coffee, picking out your produce, or sitting in traffic, look around. Every. Other. Person.

Yet, as a community, we don’t talk about it nearly as often and as openly as we should. And let’s face it… it can be a tough topic. People can also be fearful of what they don’t understand. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and far too many stereotypes.

Know this.

Many people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia can live active, engaged lives for months or years after diagnosis.

- Dementia affects all people in different ways.

- There is no guarantee that a person will reach an advanced stage of dementia in life.

Don’t be afraid to talk about your experience and stay connected.

If you have been impacted by dementia in any way, it's important to enjoy social activities.

This is a perfect time to make new social connections and build up your support system. There are (literally) hundreds of thousands of people in Calgary and area who have already been impacted. They might be able to relate.

Staying social is excellent for your mind, body and soul, whether you have dementia or you are supporting someone who does.

You can also connect with local people and groups who truly understand and care. Connect with others.

You don't have to face this journey alone. After all, half of Calgarians have already been there in some form or another. (Whether they show up in the way you need them to, is a whole different topic for another article, on another day. 😊)

Please join the StillMe social movement for change. Click "stay informed" in the top right corner of this page. You'll get the latest info, ways to get involved, and a few much-needed warm fuzzies along the way.

Until then…

Find your people. Be social. Take care of you.

And if you need us, we’re here for you.

From your friends at Alzheimer Calgary

*Source: Janet Brown Opinion Research and Trend Research