In Seattle, community members living with memory loss are rising up as the true spokespeople, and the true experts, on what it means to live with dementia!
Last fall, a group of participants in a local early stage memory loss program decided they had had enough of being overlooked, misunderstood, and considered “less-than” by wider society. Embarking on a bold mission to transform the public perception of dementia, they chose to do so in a personal and courageous way – sharing their own stories. Participants crafted statements communicating what they’d like the world to know about living with memory loss: “I’m still here. I’m still able. I have a lot to give.” Perhaps most radical: “Having Alzheimer’s is an adventure, not a disease.”
Pairing these statements with their own photos, they designed a flyer called “Faces of Memory Loss” and began distributing it throughout the community, and presenting it in venues such as Alzheimer’s Cafe events. Recently, their courageous and provocative message caught the attention of the local NPR station: (Listen Here).
At a recent gathering, the group performed a little rap to sum up their purpose.
There’s a new dementia story taking hold
It’s not that old story of shame and fear
It’s people with dementia shouting: “I’m still here!”
That last line got cheers and applause.
What began as a small project with grand hopes, has become a powerful story spreading throughout Seattle and beyond. This is the new dementia story, a story which can transform our communities into places of inclusion, understanding and connection, a story told most authentically by people living with dementia. This is momentia.