Alzheimer Society of Canada releases new study "A new way of looking at the impact of dementia in Canada"
TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - According to a new study commissioned by
the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the number of Canadians living with
cognitive impairment, including dementia, now stands at 747,000 and is
expected to increase to 1.4 million by 2031. These figures comprise not
only Canadians diagnosed with dementias, including Alzheimer's disease,
but also those with cognitive impairment, which frequently leads to the
more degenerative forms.
"The numbers are getting worse and we need to act swiftly," says Naguib
Gouda, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Canada. "We're now seeing dementia in
almost 15 per cent of Canadians 65 and older, which gives us a clearer
picture of the enormous impending challenges as Canadians continue to
The new study, "A new way of looking at the impact of dementia in Canada," also estimates the total direct (medical) and indirect (lost
earnings) costs of dementia at $33 billion annually today, and will
skyrocket to $293 billion annually by 2040.
Most revealing are the heightened pressures on family caregivers. In
2011, they spent a little over 444 million unpaid hours looking after
someone with the disease. By 2040 they will be devoting a staggering
1.2 billion unpaid hours per year.
"The good news is that we're getting better at diagnosing dementia,"
says Gouda, "But what's concerning is that our current care systems are
not resourced to meet the tremendous service needs throughout the
lifespan of the disease. Too many caregivers are forced to quit their
jobs or they develop their own health issues because of the strain."
Dementia is a progressive and degenerative disease that is fatal with no
cure in sight. While age is the biggest risk factor, dementia can also
occur in people in their 40s and 50s. Its progression varies from
person to person and in some cases can last 10 to 20 years following
"With the baby boomer bulge well upon us, dementia is becoming so common
that we can no longer afford to ignore it," warns Gouda."We need to
take this issue far more seriously and ensure we've got the right
mechanisms in place to ease the pressures on an already stretched
health-care system and lighten the load on families who are personally
affected. Dementia requires nothing short of a national dementia plan.
It's unacceptable and worrying that other countries like France,
Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have forged ahead
and developed plans while Canada continues to drag its feet."
The Alzheimer Society first sounded the alarm of dementia's rising
numbers with the release of its seminal report Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society in 2010. The report outlined a five-point action plan that includes:
Increased funding for research into all aspects of dementia
Earlier diagnosis and intervention
Strengthened integration of primary, home and community care
Enhanced skills and training of the dementia workforce
Recognition of the needs and improved supports for caregivers
About the new data
The new data is based on analysis conducted for the Mental Health
Commission of Canada in an effort to obtain prevalence and economic
projections for selected mental disorders. The prevalence data was
derived from a health research study done in 2004 by the Manitoba
Centre for Health Policy that determined the number of people treated
by physicians for cognitive impairment, including dementia, in that
province. These prevalence rates were applied to Canadian population
data to derive national prevalence figures which were, in turn, applied
to the Rising Tide direct cost drivers to project economic impact. This research informed
the development of the Mental Health Strategy for Canada released in
May 2012. The Alzheimer Society commissioned RiskAnalytica to expand on
the data to estimate indirect cost projections and costs associated
About Rising Tide
In 2010, the Alzheimer Society released its seminal report, Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society. The Society had commissioned RiskAnalytica, the same research firm
engaged by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, to project the
incidence, prevalence and economic costs of dementia over a 30-year
period. Rising Tide relied on data from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (1991),
which interviewed and tested people, aged 65 and older, in their homes,
for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Risk Analytica was
also commissioned by the Society to simulate the future impact of
About the Alzheimer Society
The Alzheimer Society is the leading nationwide health charity for
people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Active in
more than 150 communities across Canada, the Society offers Help for Today through our programs and services for people living with dementia and Hope for Tomorrow… ® by funding research to find the cause and the cure.
For more information about the new data or the Alzheimer Society, please
SOURCE: Alzheimer Society of Canada
For further information:
Director, Media Relations
Alzheimer Society of Canada