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Dementia in Canada: Statistics and Prevention Plans

January 16, 2015
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Helping-Individuals-with-Mental-Illnesses-Earn-IncomeAlzheimer’s is one of the most difficult diseases, both to have and to watch loved ones deal with. About 25 million people worldwide are currently suffering from this disease. In fact, most Canadians are either directly or indirectly affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

A comprehensive research project published in 2010 shed new light on the rising problem of dementia in Canada. The study, conducted by Alzheimer Society, is titled, Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society. It provides current facts about Alzheimer’s in Canada and, aside from presenting relevant statistics, offers a 30-year projection. In addition, the report suggests personal intervention techniques and a national dementia strategy.

You can read the entire report by clicking here: http://www.alzheimer.ca/~/media/Files/national/Advocacy/ASC_Rising_Tide_Full_Report_e.pdf.

In the meantime, this article will attempt to highlight the key points made throughout the report.

Dementia in Canada: Current Statistics and 30 Years Projection

  • 2008 Incidence of dementia- 103,700 new cases per year
  • 2038 Incidence of dementia- 257,800 new cases per year
  • 2008 Prevalence- 1.5 per cent of the population of Canada
  • 2038 Prevalence- 2.8 per cent of the population of Canada
  • 2008 Informal Care Hours needed- 230,838,301 hrs
  • 2038 Informal Care Hours needed- 756,478,399 hrs
  • 2008 Annual Economic Burden due to dementia- $14,924,030,467
  • 2038 Annual Economic Burden due to dementia- $152,639,495,005

While statistics for the year 2038 seem overwhelming at first glance, they are merely projections for the future. It is possible that these projected numbers can be decreased through a national plan and preventative measures.

Dementia in Canada: Suggested Intervention

The Rising Tide project not only published statistics; it also mentioned ways in which Alzheimer’s can be prevented.

  • Prevention through increased physical activity- increase physical activity for those over the age of 65 to prevent the onset of dementia
  • Prevention through program to delay onset– creating a program for Canadian adults not suffering from dementia to teach preventing early onset through diet and lifestyle
  • Support for caregivers- creating a support system for caregivers to reduce the amount of time given to care and delay entry into long-term care facilities
  • Support from system navigator- assign a case manager to each new dementia patient to organize and oversee caregiving in order to reduce amount of time for caregiving and delay entry into long-term care facilities

Dementia in Canada: National Strategy Recommendations

In the final section of the Rising Tide report, suggestions are given regarding the National Dementia Strategy. After examining all of the compiled research, the following recommendations were given to help address this monumental problem.

  • Accelerate funding for all areas of dementia research
  • Recognize the importance informal caregivers, provide support and education
  • Recognize importance of prevention and early intervention, in health care and public spheres
  • Integrate care and increase chronic disease prevention and care frameworks
  • Increase dementia “workforce” in medical community, caregivers and volunteers

Even though it lists some frightening statistics, the Rising Tide report also carries a message of hope. The projections of cost and increased occurrence in dementia can be lowered significantly through preventative measures. This is welcome news to anyone who has had the pain of watching someone they love suffer from dementia.

It is clear that both having Alzheimer’s disease and watching a loved one deal with it is limitlessly frustrating and difficult. We also know that it is not easy to make decisions about the individual’s care. But we do know that there are options, as well as help and hope.

Are you or someone you love afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease? All Canadians – those who directly struggle with dementia and those who don’t – can benefit from reading the Rising Tides report. Click here to access the Alzheimer Society’s research, findings and preventative suggestions: http://www.alzheimer.ca/~/media/Files/national/Advocacy/ASC_Rising_Tide_Full_Report_e.pdf.

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