The Solidarity of Sisterhood: Women Living with Dementia
Three inspiring women living with dementia—Brenda, Clara, and Myrna, talk with Dr. Elaine Wiersma about what a diagnosis means to them. Through a “kitchen table” conversation about the challenges and joys of being women living with dementia, you will walk away inspired by their courage and resilience.
Women are more likely to be impacted by dementia, both as people living with a diagnosis and as care partners. While gender has largely been ignored in dementia research and supports, these women’s stories illustrate the importance of understanding how dementia impacts various groups of people.
Since Brenda Hounam was diagnosed in 2000, she has been an active advocate for people living with dementia. She is the founder of the By Us For Us (BUFU) guides, a series of booklets for people with dementia by people with dementia. Brenda was a guest in Episode # 21.
Clara Mersereau is one of the most kind, and loving spirits anyone could know. She’s always the first to find the bright side if you are having a hard time seeing it. Clara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s just over 4 yrs ago. Clara and her family will be/are featured in Episode 33.
After being diagnosed 12 years ago with frontal temporal dementia, and after several years of despair and questioning, Myrna Norman began to educate herself about dementia. She was 59 at the time. Since then, Myrna has become an Advocate for all Persons Living With Dementia and their family and friends. Norma talks more about her life and her writings in Episode 23.
Dr. Elaine Wiersma, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Health Sciences, and Associate Director, Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health (CERAH), Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
If you are a woman living with dementia and would like to join an online bi-weekly Sisterhood group for women living with dementia, please contact Elaine at email@example.com .
For further information, please see the following resources:
A short video called “Women with Dementia Living Strong”
Bamford, S. (2011). Women and dementia—not forgotten. https://ilcuk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Women_and_dementia.pdf
Alzheimer Society of Canada
Alzheimer Society UK—Why is dementia different for women?
Alzheimer Disease International—Women and Dementia: A Global Research Review
Broders, K.1, & Wiersma, E.C. (2020 online first). Creating change: The experiences of women living with young-onset dementia. Disability & Society. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2020.1848801
Bartlett, R., Gjernes, T., Lotherington, A-T., Obstefelder, A. (2018). Gender, citizenship and dementia care: a scoping review of studies to inform policy and future research. Health and Social Care in the Community, 26(1), 14-26. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12340
Sandberg, L.J. (2018). Dementia and the gender trouble? Theorizing dementia, gendered subjectivity and embodiment. Journal of Aging Studies, 45, 25-31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2018.01.004