Cheryl and her husband David found their own way to challenge negative views about dementia and the daily stigma they faced in their local community.
They were unhappy and angry because of how Cheryl was treated by others in her local supermarket and bank. Cheryl struggled to understand social distancing rules during the COVID pandemic which upset other customers.
To try and help others be more understanding towards his wife and other people with dementia, David wrote a letter to the local newspaper, telling their story. In his letter ‘Show respect for hidden disabilities’, he challenges narrow views of dementia and calls for people to show respect to others who may have trouble following the rules of social distancing. In the letter he also explains that his wife chooses to wear the sunflower lanyard to highlight her hidden disability to others.
Soon after, the newspaper then contacted Cheryl and her husband and asked them to take part in a news story about wearing the sunflower lanyard. The newspaper featured an article which highlights the treatment they suffered based on a lack of understanding about dementia.
You can read their article in full.
Cheryl and David are keen to help people understand that not everyone with dementia are old, incapable and sitting in a care home. They want people to recognise that people with dementia are still ‘normal’ and can do everyday things we all do like shopping and socialising, despite facing extra challenges caused by dementia.
To find out more about how to deal with negative views about dementia read Manage how others treat you if you have dementia, or Managing how others treat you and the person you support if you are a carer.
If you want to find out whether wearing a sunflower lanyard could be helpful for you or someone you support, read about some of the pros and cons in this Alzheimer’s Society article.
Cheryl and David also use assisted travel schemes such as Avanti West Coast Travel Assist to help make train journeys easier, less stressful, and keep them doing the things they enjoy.