A Call to Action by Julie Hayden

As part of our daily blog series for World Alzheimer’s Month #WAM,  Dementia Awareness Month #DAM, or World Dementia Month, we continue to highlight stories about, or by our members, who all live with a diagnosis of dementia. Today, is a personal article, and a call to action,  written by DAI board member, Julie Hayden from the UK. Thank you Julie.

Ignoring the stigma: A Call to Action

By Julie Hayden
Hi, I’m Julie Hayden from Halifax in UK. As part of World Alzheimer’s Month I thought I’d just share some musings with you on my dementia and how I prefer to be seen.
Firstly, despite my dementia, I am a person, not a disease or a condition.
I am, and always will always be, a mother, grandmother, friend and someone who cares passionately about the rights of others.
I have been outspoken all my life, and refuse to stop until my dementia forces me to do so. I realise that this sometimes makes me unpopular and means that some people view me as being difficult, but quite frankly, at this stage in my life, I don’t care.
Why should I allow my dementia, or others’ stigmatised view of it dampen my spirit or my drive for more justice in the world? I now assess others far more on their actions than their rhetoric.
I recognise many faults in myself, but refuse to see my fight for a fairer world for people with dementia as one of them. 
I often think about how my uncooperative nature will impact on me later when I am living in residential care.
Will my unwillingness to do as I am told regardless of my wishes be interpreted as BPSD? Am I destined at some point to be “managed” by chemical cosh? I hope not, but at that point in my life I may have little or no personal influence.
The only thing that my friends, colleagues and I can do to prevent that happening, at least for those who follow on from us is to talk and write about our lived experience as a way of educating and enlightening others.
So please, join with us within DAI and the many other dementia organisations across the globe to make 2021 a year when we are able to take a step forward in banning BPSD and look at more humanistic and holistic ways of caring for people living with dementia.
Thank you.

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Julie Hayden is a Board Member Dementia Alliance International (DAI), a Founder of Young Onset Dementia & Alzheimer’s (YODA), a Steering Group member of the 3Nations Dementia Working Group (3NDWG), Prime Minister’s Champion’s Group on Dementia and a
Board Member Deepness Radio & Recovery College.