Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease five years ago

Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease five years ago

A month in Jim’s shoes

Surrey man shares his daily thoughts and experiences with Alzheimer’s Disease on Twitter.

When asked if he was interested in promoting Alzheimer’s Disease awareness, Jim Mann jumped at the opportunity.

Diagnosed with the illness five years ago, the 63-year-old Fleetwood resident will spend the month of January tweeting his day-to-day activities and thoughts online to provide the perspective of a person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

“Had a meeting today and I panicked when I lost my train of thought,” Mann tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “I probably sounded odd trying to b.s. my way as I figured out where I was going with my thoughts.”

Earlier, he tweeted that he couldn’t remember his phone number. And another said he’d been told three times where he was going, but couldn’t recall. “I’ll ask a leading question instead,” he typed on Twitter.

“There are so many stereotypes and misconceptions associated with Alzheimer’s disease that they become barriers to seeking information, support, and even a diagnosis,” Mann said during an interview, explaining his decision to tweet. “We need to face this disease and talk about it openly so that people can have greater awareness and are motivated to do something about it.”

Mann will be tweeting his real life experiences during Alzheimer Awareness Month, a promotion of the Alzheimer Society of BC (ASBC) to shed light on a disease which affects more than 70,000 British Columbians, 10,000 of whom are under the age of 65.

“I’m an advocate to educate,” said Mann, who sits on the board of directors of ASBC. “We need to break the stereotype of an older person in the final stages of life. I hope this is one way of doing it.”

“The perception is it affects only older people, and that’s not always the case,” added Ruby Ng, ASBC’s director of marketing and communications. “We see the importance of reaching young people, and social media is a good way to do it.”

The ASBC is encouraging those concerned about memory loss in themselves or a loved one to see a doctor, or visit www.letsfaceitbc.ca for information about warning signs, preparing for a diagnosis, and other useful resources.

Mann has been a director with the provincial organization for four years, and has served on the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s board of directors for the past three years.

“I’m the voice of people with Alzheimer’s,” said Mann. “A lot of organizations don’t have a voice from the people they serve.”

To follow In Jim’s Shoes, follow the Alzheimer Society of B.C. (@AlzheimerBC) or search #injimsshoes.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

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