What the Numbers Say
- An estimated 500,000 Canadians have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Over 70,000 of them are under 65 and approximately 50,000 are under the age of 60. 1
- 1 in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. 1
- Women make up almost three-quarters of Canadians with Alzheimer's disease. 1
- In just 5 years, as much as 50% more Canadians and their families could be facing Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. 1
- Within a generation, the number of Canadians with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia will more than double, ranging between 1 and 1.3 million people. 1
Impact on Family
The impact of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias engulfs whole families, and affects far more than the half a million people living with the disease.
- 36% of Canadians know someone with Alzheimer's disease. 2
- 17% of Canadians have someone with Alzheimer's disease in their immediate family. 2
- Alzheimer's disease is the second most feared disease for Canadians as they age. 2
Impact of Care
Caregiving is a critical issue for people living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, and for Canadians as a whole. According to the Canadian Caregiving Coalition:
- One-in-five Canadians age 45 and over are providing some form of care to seniors who have long-term health problems. 3
- Almost half the informal caregivers in Canada (43 per cent) are between 45 and 54, many balancing this role with job and family responsibilities. 3
- A quarter of all informal caregivers are seniors themselves, and a third of them – over 200,000 people – are over the age of 75. 3
- Family caregivers are the invisible and hidden backbone of the health and long-term care system in Canada contributing over $5 billion dollars of unpaid care. 4
- In the past decade, people living with dementia have become important advocates for themselves, helping to raise awareness, as well as speaking out about their needs for care and treatment.
- The Alzheimer Society engages people living with dementia in many aspects of its work, including advocacy, communications, program and literature review, and as members on its Board of Directors.
Dispelling the Myths
- Extensive research has failed to find evidence that shows a conclusive link between aluminium and Alzheimer's disease.
- Although genetics play a role in the disease, only five to seven per cent of people diagnosed have the inherited form of Alzheimer's disease.
- Earlier diagnosis, access to better treatment options and a greater understanding of the disease itself are changing the lives of people with Alzheimer's disease. Many people continue to lead active and meaningful lives long after diagnosis.
Time to Act
- As our population ages, the number of people affected by Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia is going to increase dramatically.
- Dementia is more than just an important health concern, it has the potential to overwhelm the Canadian health care system if fundamental changes are not made in research funding and care delivery.
Projected Incidence for Dementia in Toronto:
Dementia Projections for the Counties, Regional Municipalities, and Districts of Ontario. Robert Hopkins.
revised June 2010.
Full report available online.
- Rising Tide – The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society. Alzheimer Society of Canada (Executive Summary - pdf, 24 pages; Full Report - pdf, 65 pages; Risk Analytica - pdf, 344 pages)
- Alzheimer Society "Brain Health" Public Opinion Poll. Leger Marketing, 2006.
- Eldercare: What We Know Today. Statistics Canada report, October 20, 2008.
- A profile of Canadian chronic care providers. Fast, J., Niehaus, L., Eales, J., & Keating, N. 2002a.
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