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Statistics Show Dementia Affects More Than 71,000 Canadians Under Age 65
Posted on January 6, 2009

Number of people living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia could reach 1.3 million

Soon, Alzheimer's disease and related dementias won't only be about our parent's generation. It will also be about ours.

This comes from new data released today to mark the start of Alzheimer Awareness Month, confirming that more than 71,000 Canadians living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia are under the age of 65.

Part of the initial findings of a study undertaken by the Alzheimer Society in conjunction with RiskAnalytica, this new information on the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias paints a potentially frightening picture about the present and future impact of dementia on Canadian Society.

"Of those living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, approximately 15 per cent of them are under age 65. This means that it isn't only our health care and social systems that are being overwhelmed," says Scott Dudgeon, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. "The reality is that the businesses and industry sectors are also being affected as our boomer generation, a generation of leaders and mentors, are affected by dementia."

Highlights from the initial findings of the study Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society include:

  • Approximately 500,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia
  • Of the 500,000 people affected, more than 71,000 of them are under the age of 65, and approximately 50,000 of them are under the age of 60.
  • 1 in 11 people over the age of 65 currently have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia
  • Women make up 72 per cent of Canadians with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Within just five years, an additional 250,000 Canadians could develop Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia.
  • Within a generation (25 years), the number of people living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia could reach between 1 million and 1.3 million.

"As it stands today, the number of Canadians living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia will more than double within a generation," says Ray Congdon, Volunteer President of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. "This new data only reinforces the fact that Alzheimer's disease and related dementias are a rising concern in this country, an epidemic that has the potential to overwhelm the Canadian health care system if changes are not made today."

The Alzheimer Society is issuing a call to action for all Canadians this January, asking them to do what they can to help turn the tide, and ease the impact of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. These actions can include making a donation to support critical research, raising their voice to this country's parliamentarians, and doing the things they can to help reduce their own risk of developing dementia.

"Every Canadian has a reason to care," says Jim Mann, an Alzheimer Advocate who was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 58. "Alzheimer's disease and related dementias are a tragic reality for a rapidly growing number of Canadian families. The time to act is now."

Alzheimer's disease and related dementias are progressive, degenerative diseases that destroy vital brain cells. They are not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, accounts for approximately 64 per cent of all dementias in Canada. While each of the related diseases has unique aspects, symptoms include a gradual and continuing decline of memory, changes in judgment or reasoning, mood and behaviour, and an inability to perform familiar tasks.

The Alzheimer Society is the leading, nationwide health organization for people affected by dementia in Canada. The Society is a principal funder of Alzheimer research and training, provides enhanced care and support to people with the disease, their families and their caregivers, and is a prominent voice within all levels of government. Active in more than 140 communities across Canada, the Society is also a key player in Alzheimer's Disease International, an organization at the forefront of world wide efforts to fight dementia.

Source: Alzeimer's Society of Canada

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