Over next 30 years, dementia and its effects could reach crisis proportions
For those of you who have not been reading the papers over the past month, The Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia in Canada, refers to a study which was recently released by the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.
The purpose of this study was to track dementia and its effects over the next 30 years and what it is saying is very disturbing. It indicates that at present, there is a new case happening in Canada every five minutes. In 2038, that jumps to a new case every two minutes. At present, there are approximately 231 million hours of informal care given to people with dementia. In 2038, that will rise to 756 million hours of care required.
These are very alarming statistics and must be recognized by all levels of government. Already, some countries such as Australia, Norway, France, Scotland and the Netherlands have developed plans to deal with this emergency. According to the Rising Tide Report, there are a number of interventions that could be implemented that could reduce the impact of dementia but the ones that jumped out at me were the increase of physical activity in our lives and the quality and amount of training and support given to our caregivers. I think it is important to recognize that, at present, we have long-term nursing facilties that handle chronic cases of Alzheimer’s disease, but if the numbers prove to be correct, there may not be the facilities available in 30 years to meet the need. Therefore, I think it is incumbent on all of us to be as proactive as we can.
That means trying to be more physically active. This may be more easily said than done, especially if you live with a physical disability or if you live in an area with little or no opportunities to be active. Going along with being more physically active is the need for more brain exercise. This could mean playing games such as chess, checkers, jigsaws and crossword puzzles. You may want to pursue new hobbies like playing a musical instrument, learning to do carpentry or sewing or reading a book and discussing it with a friend. Going hand in hand with all of this is trying to eat nutritious meals on a regular basis. For those of you out there who may be living with a loved one suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is important to know that there are support services. It is comforting to know that groups are working to improve upon these.
This article barely scratches the surface of what we should know about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If you have access to a computer, I would recommend that you go online and Google in ‘ Rising Tide’ where you can read the full report of this study or you may visit www.alzheimer.ca for plenty of useful information.
Until we meet again, Happy Trails.