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Rising tide of dementia projected to cost Canadians $872 billion over next 30 years

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THUNDER BAY, ON – JANUARY 4, 2010 – A new report released today by the Alzheimer Walk for Memories Alzheimer SocietySociety to mark Alzheimer Awareness Month reveals alarming new data about the projected economic and social costs of dementia in Canada. According to Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society, if current demographic trends continue, the prevalence of dementia will more than double in 30 years, with the costs increasing tenfold.

Today’s report suggests that by 2038, someone in Canada will develop dementia every two minutes, up from one every five minutes. That means the associated health care costs will soar to $153 billion a year from the current $15 billion a year, and the total cumulative costs will skyrocket to $872 billion over the next 30 years.

In Ontario during the same time period, the number of individuals living with dementia will reach 395,540, and the number of new annual cases will triple to 98,620.

Families and individuals are at the heart of the report. Because of the progressive nature of the dementia and the escalating numbers of people, Rising Tide underscores the need for more services. “We’ve already seen a 93% increase in the number of counselling sessions we provided over the past three years,” says Alison Denton, Executive Director, Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay. “When we are able to support families and provide right tools and education, they are better equipped to manage the disease and live fulfilled lives beyond diagnosis.”

The Rising Tide report also identifies four possible solutions that could minimize the economic fallout of the disease. For example, figuring out how to postpone the onset of dementia by just two years would save the healthcare system $219 billion over the 30-year period.  More than ever, research is vital to further understanding the disease and finding better diagnostic methods.

“These new findings are a great opportunity to put into place a national dementia strategy,” adds David Harvey, Ontario spokesperson for the Rising Tide project.   “Investing more in research to improve early diagnosis, prevention and treatments and investing more in the training of frontline workers is a first good step towards stemming the tide and offering families real hope.”

The 2010 Awareness Campaign was made possible in part through the generosity of the following sponsors: Pfizer Canada, Transcontinental Media, Medicine Shoppe Canada, Genworth Financial Canada, Rx&D and Burnbrae Farms.

 

About Rising Tide
Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society is a ground-breaking research study conducted by the Alzheimer Society in conjunction with RiskAnalytica, a leading firm in risk management. Rising Tide data were determined through RiskAnalytica’s specialized Life at Risk® evaluation framework, combined with the Alzheimer Society's extensive network of leading researchers and clinicians. For downloadable copies of the report, visit: 
www.alzheimerontario.org.

About Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are progressive, degenerative diseases that destroy vital brain cells. They are not a normal part of aging and are ultimately fatal. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 63 per cent of all cases in Canada.

About the Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay
Founded in 1986, the Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay is a charitable organization dedicated to alleviating the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The Society offers support to people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers; provides public education; promotes awareness in the community and funds research. Over 3,500 people in the Thunder Bay District are currently living with dementia, and this number is expected to double within a generation. The Society depends on local support and donations, as the demand for our services continues to grow.

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