September is World Alzheimers Awareness Month and the 21st is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Day. Alzheimers is a health crisis, in my view , that impacts everyone and one that is not based on culture, gender, ethnicity, or social economic background. Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia and one that impacts more women than men. The Canadian Alzheimers Society shares that women represent 72% of all Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease, likely due 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 however, dementia is NOT a normal part of ageing. Alzheimers Disease International provides the following information:
- There are currently estimated to be over 55 million people worldwide living with dementia. The number of people affected is set to rise to 139 million by 2050, with the greatest increases in low and middle income countries.
- Already 60% of people with dementia live in low and middle income countries, but by 2050 this will rise to 71%.
- A new case of dementia arises somewhere in the world every 3 seconds.
- Up to three quarters of those with dementia worldwide have not received a diagnosis.
- Almost 80% of the general public are concerned about developing dementia at some point and 1 in 4 people think that there is nothing we can do to prevent dementia.
- Almost 62% of healthcare practitioners worldwide incorrectly think that dementia is part of normal ageing.
- 35% of carers across the world said that they have hidden the diagnosis of dementia of a family member.
- Over 50% of carers globally say their health has suffered as a result of their caring responsibilities even whilst expressing positive sentiments about their role.
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