“Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.”

“Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.”
Carolyn & Derek Burrage

To The Haldimand Press

HAGERSVILLE—“I knew something wasn’t right. But at first, I thought it was his hearing,” said Carolyn Burrage of Hagersville about her husband, Derek, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2011.

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. This month the Alzheimer Society kicked off the second year of a three-year campaign to change the negative perceptions of people living with dementia. This includes a campaign telling the personal stories of Canadians living with dementia; both those who have been diagnosed as well as those caring for family members with the disease. The campaign, titled “Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.”, was started to help shift public attitudes and stigma.

Until last year, when his dementia began to progress further, Derek was the best tour guide at the No.6 RCAF Dunn-ville Museum. Derek had been a pilot in the Royal Air Force in England before he immigrated to Canada in 1957 and began working in Toronto on the Avro-Arrow, a delta-winged interceptor aircraft. In the hanger at the museum, there are four wall murals painted by Derek. The first being completed on a 15-foot ladder until scaffolding was arranged for the remaining murals.

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