January 18, 2016 10:17 pm
Updated: January 18, 2016 11:06 pm

Alzheimer Society launches new campaign to help lonely dementia patients

WATCH: January is Alzheimer's Awareness Month, and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is encouraging people to befriend those who live with dementia. Linda Aylesworth reports.

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BURNABY – January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and this year, the Alzheimer Society is focusing on its Become A Friend campaign.

The organization launched the initiative because many of the 70,000 British Columbians living with dementia are coping without the support of friends.

Maria Howard, the CEO of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. says, “(Abandonment by friends) is more common than it should be.”

“People feel uncomfortable. They don’t know what they can do to help the situation. They don’t know how to approach someone who may now seem different from the person they knew as a friend. They feel awkward and they feel sad. It is hard to watch someone important in your life deteriorate.”

The goal of Become A Friend is to help people better understand dementia, then take their newfound knowledge and turn it into action. They hope people will register at dementiafriends.ca.

Howard stresses, “There is more to a person with dementia than memory loss. They are still individuals who want to be part of the community.”

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