Making Dementia a National Health Priority in Canada

January 31, 2008

Alzheimer Society in Ottawa asking MPs to ‘make the commitment’

Ottawa — January 30, 2008 —The Alzheimer Society of Canada is in Ottawa today, asking politicians to make the commitment to ensure dementia becomes a national health priority.The Society is making its presence felt at Parliament Hill today, helping to raise awareness about the growing dementia epidemic, and emphasizing the need to take action now.

“We are asking politicians to do two things today. First, we want them to make the commitment to improving their own brain health,” says Scott Dudgeon, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC). “Second, we want them to make the commitment to the thousands of their own constituents living with Alzheimer’s and related diseases, by ensuring that dementia becomes a national health priority.”

Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form, affects about half a million Canadians. Unless a cure can be found, that number is expected to rise dramatically within the next generation.

“It is our belief that the Government of Canada must recognize this potential health crisis now, while there is still time to put together a comprehensive strategy for research funding and care delivery,” says Ray Congdon, volunteer president of ASC.

What the Numbers Say• 4.3 million Canadians are aged 65 or older, meaning that one in seven are now senior citizens. By 2015, the number of seniors is expected to reach 5.4 million.

• About half a million people currently have Alzheimer’s or a related disease. This number is expected to almost double within the next generation.

• Currently, there are more than 24 million people in the world with Alzheimer’s or a related disease – this is projected to rise to 81 million by the year 2040.

• The total worldwide cost of dementia care is estimated to be US$315.4 billion annually.

• In Ontario alone, the annual cost of caring for people with dementia is estimated at $7 billion.

• According to a recent poll, Alzheimer’s disease is the second most feared disease for Canadians as they age.

What can be done?

• Research remains the key to finding a cure, and a significant investment into science is essential if we are to eradicate dementia. There must also be better support, care and treatment for people living with Alzheimer’s or a related disease.

• The Alzheimer Society of Canada believes that the Government of Canada must act now, making dementia a national health priority and sponsoring the development of a Canadian Dementia Management Strategy.

• The Strategy encompasses research, prevention, diagnosis, improved treatment, improved care and care for caregivers, aspects that most directly impact the lives of those touched by dementia.

To make your voice heard, become an Alzheimer Advocate.

Source: Alzheimer Society of Canada:

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