“You Should Not Need to Go to a Table in the Corner”

Published on 3 May 2023

Experiencing Transitions with Jim Mann, Dementia Educator and Advocate

On this page

On April 5, 2022, the author, Dr. Josephine McMurray, sat down with Jim Mann, former Director of Government Affairs at Air Canada, who in 2007 at the age of 58, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Since then, Jim’s transition from retiree to “person living with dementia” was swiftly replaced with “advocate and educator” after observing and experiencing the sharp stings of stigma and stereotyping that can accompany a dementia diagnosis.

Since then, Jim has dedicated his life to living positively with his diagnosis. He has appeared before federal and provincial Parliamentary committees, been interviewed for radio, television, and podcasts, and spoken throughout Canada to large and small groups as a keynote speaker or discussant at conferences, meetings, and in classrooms.

He also collaborates with researchers across Canada on grant applications and academic publications. Above all, Jim’s message about dementia-awareness is one of education and hope. In 2020, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC) for his advocacy on behalf of the rights of people with dementia.

The University noted, “he has been acknowledged as the single-most influential person in Canada for countering negative stereotypes and promoting an inclusive society in which persons with dementia can make an active and meaningful contribution.” Jim Mann is a Canadian national treasure, and after reading our conversation with him (presented verbatim but divided into sections for clarity to highlight key aspects of transition), we are confident you’ll agree that his personal transition to dementia advocate and educator has been our gain. At the conclusion of the interview, the author provides a reflection on the interview and its possible interpretation situated in the context of contemporary transitions theory.

Read the full article on IJELT website.

Story category Research