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Canadians with dementia wait too long for diagnosis

Alzheimers-early-diagnosis
ALZPEC

As many as 50 per cent of Canadians with dementia are not diagnosed early enough – losing precious time when care and support can make a tremendous difference in their quality of life and avert unnecessary crises for their families.

That’s why during Alzheimer Awareness Month, the Alzheimer Society is launching a new campaign ‘Early diagnosis keeps your life from unravelling’ to promote the benefits of early diagnosis.

Fear and stigma continue to be huge barriers to seeking help. In a recent Nanos survey, 60 per cent of Canadians polled said it would be harder to disclose if they, or someone close to them, had Alzheimer’s disease compared to other diseases because of the social stigma associated with mental health issues.

Earlier diagnosis opens the door to important information, resources and support through local Alzheimer societies, which help people with dementia focus on their abilities to remain independent in their homes and communities longer.

With early diagnosis, people can access medications that, although not effective for everyone, have the greatest impact when taken early. On a practical level, an early diagnosis gives someone the chance to explain the changes happening in their life to family and friends and allows families to plan ahead.

“Seventy-four per cent of Canadians know someone with dementia and more and more Canadians will continue to develop the disease. We want to make sure they’re getting the help they need at every stage of the disease,” says Mimi Lowi -Young, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Canada. “As devastating as the news can be, early diagnosis brings relief to families, gives them control over their situation and adds more years of living active and fulfilling lives.”

Throughout January, Canadians are encouraged to visit the Alzheimer Society website to learn how to spot the signs of dementia, understand the benefits of a diagnosis and prepare for a doctor’s visit.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting men and women of all races, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. It is not a normal part of aging and no one is immune.

The Alzheimer Society Walk for Memories raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and education. Held annually in more than 65 communities across Ontario, the event calls on  participants of all ages and abilities to help support people living with dementia. Funds raised at the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward County event will support programs and services offered in the local community.

The County’s events are Saturday, Jan. 25 from 1p.m. – 3p.m. at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute and the Wellington Community Centre. For details, sponsoring a walker, or participating, call 613 476-2085 or visit www.walkformemories.ca

Today, 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, with this number expected to increase to 1.4 million in less than 20 years.

Although Canada’s aging demographic will continue to fuel the se numbers, increasingly people in their 40s and 50s are also being affected. Growing evidence also shows that brain changes resulting in dementia can begin 25 years before symptoms appear.

Early diagnosis keeps your life from unravelling. Knowing what you face helps with planning, getting the right medication, care and support. It also helps you and your family prepare for the road ahead.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere Else

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