In my opinion, dementia is our greatest health crisis. It is a disease that is not based on culture, gender, ethnicity, or social economic background although there is some current research that there may be some modifiable factors. Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia and one that impacts more women than men. The Canadian Alzheimer’s Society shares that women represent 72% of all Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease, likely because women live longer than men.
Dementia is as a general term describing symptoms which include a decline in mental ability, loss of memory and judgement severe enough to interfere with daily life. Older age is the greatest contributing factor for developing dementia. Every 3 seconds someone in the world develops dementia and we don’t yet have a cure. The cost of supporting someone living with dementia is extremely high both financially and emotionally. I have written extensively on its impact on family caregivers and on employed carers, which are 35% of working Canadians. The impact on our health care, social structure and resources are also significant.
Financial planning takes on a different meaning when considering the 24 hour cost of care that is required.
Countries around the world are developing dementia strategies to address this growing health crisis. Canada’s national strategy, Bill C-233 is still in its infancy but there is now an advisory board working with the Minister of Health and presumably the Minister of Seniors to develop this strategy.
Awareness is the starting point. More and more of us know and/or are living and loving someone with dementia. For more information please visit alzeimers.ca