January was Alzheimer's awareness month, which aims to draw further attention to an illness that impacts the lives of millions of Canadians. Unfortunately it is predicted that the numbers of those impacted by Alzheimer's is expected to increase over coming years .
By 2031 it is predicted that up to 1.4 million Canadians could be living with dementia or other cognitive impairments (see Dementia Numbers in Canada ). To add to this statistic, we must remember that the number of people impacted would be even greater than 1.4 million, as we must also include the family members and caregivers of those with this illness. The lives of family members who act as caregivers are significantly impacted as they often have to make sacrifices in terms of their finances, social life, families and even their own health.
This illness also has major economic implications, as the total economic cost of dementia as a result of medical expenses, as well as lost earnings, equates to about $33 billion per year; A number that will likely rise in coming years (see Dementia Numbers In Canada )
As we can see, with such a widespread impact, it is crucial that we raise awareness in order to develop a strategy to appropriately address the negative implications of this illness, and to help those directly impacted to live the highest quality of life possible.
Throughout the month of January there have been various initiatives and events focused on raising public awareness and understanding of this illness. One of the major campaigns this year is through the Alzhemier's Society with their campaign, The 72 Percent. The name of the campaign comes from the fact that 72 percent of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's are women. Furthermore, women also take a large load of the caregiver responsibility, representing 70% of caregivers .
Are you or someone you know impacted by Alzheimer's dementia? Let's all work together to support each other in raising awareness and helping those in need!
Please see below links for further information and coverage on Alzheimer's awareness: