Written by Jessica Rochman-Fowler
Yesterday was World Alzheimer’s Day, a day to call for increased action in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, but also to appreciate the strides made in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, World Alzheimer’s Day is a day to commemorate the effort made by caregivers and healthcare professionals to create a large-scale support network for dementia sufferers.
Alzheimer’s can have a profound effect on the person suffering, their family and their community. This effect can be emotional, manifesting in caregiver burnout. In fact, the New York Times states that caregivers are often reluctant to ask for help, and as a result, their needs are often overlooked. Communication is key when dealing with caregiver stress, both communication between the caregiver and their support network as well as between the caregiver and the cared-for. The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada posted a recent video on maintaining connections between family and a person with Alzheimer’s disease.
The effects of Alzheimer’s disease can also be financial. In acknowledgement of World Alzheimer’s Day, Money Matters has reported on a new study suggesting that the costs of caring for someone with dementia can often significantly exceed the costs of caring for an older adult without dementia.
The reality of Alzheimer’s on all involved can be overwhelming. Since there is currently no way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, we need to call on the government to take more responsibility in safeguarding its citizens from the effects. The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada says it best: “We need a comprehensive, workable national dementia strategy that dramatically improves the lives of people living with dementia.” This includes: “Better integrated dementia care and support.” Let’s support all people whose lives are affected by Alzheimer’s disease by petitioning our government to create this strategy. Ways to take action are listed here.