Kelowna resident Craig Burns visits with his grandson. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)

Kelowna resident Craig Burns visits with his grandson. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)

Kelowna man with dementia joins campaign to keep loved ones connected

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. awareness campaign is called “Don’t change. Even if they do”

Kelowna resident Craig Burns worked hard to build a career he loved and an avid social circle.

But when he was diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s disease, he was faced with jokes and awkward conversations from his friends.

They claimed he had changed and they didn’t know how to talk to him anymore. “It hurt,” said Burns. “You lose a piece of yourself. You’ve invested a lot of time and energy in each other.”

Burns is one of the thousands of people living with dementia who lost social connections when they needed them the most. It’s this loss that pushed Burns to join the Alzheimer Society of B.C. awareness campaign this fall to say, “Don’t change. Even if they do.”

The campaign aims to inspire people to reflect on the ways they show up for the others in their lives who are living with dementia.

According to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. interim CEO Barbara Lindsay, an estimated 60 per cent of people with a diagnosis of dementia live in the community instead of in long-term care.

“We know that people living with dementia in Penticton and throughout the Okanagan, and their caregivers, are facing more social isolation than ever,” said Alzheimer Society of B.C. interim CEO Barbara Lindsay. “The best thing we can all do to support anyone living with dementia is not change, even if they do. Keep visiting. Keep calling or FaceTiming. Even during COVID, we need to maintain our connections to people living with dementia to show that they’re not alone.”

As a part of the campaign, the society is asking the public to visit www.dontchange.ca to pledge how they’ll continue to stay connected to people affected by dementia.

As for Burns, the pain of losing friendships has given way to gratitude for the close friends that remain in his life.

“My friends keep me going, even the ones I talk to weekly over Skype,” he says.

“We support each other. I feel like I’m a part of the mix. I’m still relevant.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Seniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two Canadian petitions are asking to have elected officials removed from office. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: Petitions show loss of faith in democratic process

Online petitions from third-party sources have taken aim at elected officials in Canada

Summerland’s cenotaph was originally installed in front of the high school. The old school was located close to the corner of Rosedale Avenue and Jubilee Road. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Cenotaph and parks in Summerland honour fallen soldiers

Community memorials pay tribute to those who were killed in military service

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

(File)
One death and 82 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

1,981 total cases, 609 are active and those individuals are on isolation

Paramedic Jason Manuel, dressed in PPE, inspects an ambulance at Station 341 on Nov. 30. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Second wave, twice the anxiety; Okanagan paramedics reflect on pandemic from the front line

‘I don’t know who that (next) person is going to be, I don’t want it to be me or my family’: Paramedic

A snow moon rises over Mt. Cheam in Chilliwack on Feb. 8, 2020. Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 is Mountain Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that's ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov | AFP)
WEB POLL: Will you take a vaccine for COVID-19?

Doses are expected to arrive in the new year

Travis Hirlaka, Vernon
PHOTOS: Sunrise paints Okanagan skies

Residents in the Okanagan captured stunning shots of a colourful start to Saturday

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
First Nations Leadership Council demands justice for victims of B.C. social worker

Union of BC Indian Chiefs calls actions of Robert Saunders ‘nothing short of complete depravity’

(City of West Kelowna)
Large housing development in Central Okanagan back on the table

Council considering rezoning to accommodate 184 housing units, project hopes for ~933 by completion

Staff and students at Vernon’s Fulton Secondary School were evacuated due to an electrical short that sent one person to hospital Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Vernon high school evacuated, one person injured by electrical short

Incident at Clarence Fulton Secondary forced brief evacuation Friday afternoon

Chinook salmon spawning in the Fraser River near Tete Jeune Cache. ((Shane Kalyn photo, property of the Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance)
North-Okanagan Shuswap MP petitions government to reform salmon management

Mel Arnold tables petition to allow more angler access to non-threatened Fraser River chinook salmon

Shuswap Cider Company has applied for a licence that would accommodate a cider manufacturing facility, a tasting room and patio/lounge area at Westgate Market in Salmon Arm. (File photo)
Cider manufacturing facilty, tasting room and patio proposed for Salmon Arm

Council asked to raise a virtual glass to a licence for a cidery and amenities in Westgate Mall

It was an opening day filled with blue skies, sun and COVID-19 protocols at Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain Resort Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Passholders enjoy sunny opening day at Silver Star Mountain

Resort staff say parking reservations, COVID-19 protocols went smoothly Friday, Dec. 4

Most Read