A half a million Canadians are currently stricken with Alzheimer’s, and within a generation, researchers predict that number will double to 1,100,000, according to Rising Tide, a 2010 study commissioned by the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The cost for dementia care will rise over 1000 percent from the current $15 billion to $153 billion over the same time period.
Those are some shocking numbers.
The most widespread disease of the family of “dementias,” Alzheimer’s affects 5 to 8 percent of Canadians over the age of 65 and 30 to 50 percent over 85. Once diagnosed, the patient usually dies within seven to 10 years.
Dr. Jack Diamond, scientific director, Alzheimer Society Of Canada, and author of a report on the state and current research of the malady, goes as far as to call Alzheimer’s “an epidemic,” but not by the definition of a contagion.
“It isn’t an epidemic in the sense of people catching it, but there is an epidemic in the sense of the increased numbers being newly diagnosed; the total number of people with Alzheimer’s is steadily rising worldwide,” Diamond tells www.samaritanmag.com. “First of all, we’re living longer. Age is the biggest risk factor and the longer you live, the more of a chance you have of getting it. That’s one item that’s contributing.
“Another one is earlier diagnosis. People are now taking their family members for diagnosis where previously they didn’t, so we’re getting more diagnoses. People are getting them there earlier.”
Alzheimer’s is a heartbreaking disease for the friends and family of the loved one, a progressive and eventually fatal brain disease that eradicates nerve cells and robs people of their thinking ability, memories and eventually the ability to care for themselves.
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.