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Idalina Aguiar, member of the EWGPWD, talks about Dementia Friends on Portuguese television

Tuesday 15 October 2019

I recently had the opportunity to talk openly about dementia and to share my knowledge and experience. I was invited to talk on a TV show called Madeira Viva about my participation in the “Amigos na Demencia” (Dementia Friends) campaign. I support and encourage this campaign, organised by Alzheimer Portugal, because one of its primary goals is to reduce the stigma attached to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). I was also asked to the opening of an exhibition, organised by the municipality of Machico, which informs the public on the realities of AD. This exhibition moved location through the various parishes of Machico, spreading the message of acceptance of those with AD.

As a person with dementia, I want ordinary people to take the time to learn a little more about this complex disease and understand how it affects people like me. I want people to know that dementia is caused by a brain disorder and is a disease, not just a normal part of ageing. Most importantly, I wanted to send out a message that a person is more than what they might appear and is definitely more than their dementia. I was happy to be invited to be a part of these projects and to do what I can to change the way society thinks, acts and talks about dementia. Everyone can and must do their part to improve the daily lives of those people around them who have dementia. I personally know and have felt the effects of stigma and lack of knowledge. It leads many people with dementia, like me, to isolation and social exclusion. I want to do my part to create a society that is friendlier to people with dementia. Idalina is supported by her daughter Nélida, to whom we are grateful for her help in translating Idalina's words to English.