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Published on: January 1, 2016
by Karen Quemby for MuskokaRegion:
Life doesn’t end when Alzheimer’s begins. There is more to the person than their disease and it’s important to be there for those who are #StillHere.
• Although dementia is progressive and ultimately fatal, the symptoms and rate of progression varies from person to person. Dementia can last between eight and 10 years, or even longer.
• A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t automatically mean that the person will be unable to carry on with their daily routine.
• Each person living with dementia is different. Getting to know the person and their life is important in order to give them the support they need and want.
• Like anyone else, it takes time to get to know the person well.
• It’s important to understand that the person living with dementia will change with the progression of the disease as will their abilities, wants and needs.
• Seeing the person and not their disease helps focus our attention on what they can do rather than what they can’t do.
• Assumptions about dementia can interfere with the well-being and quality of life and care of people it affects.
• Positive attitudes and engagement of people with dementia in activities that build on their strengths and life history will foster their self worth, maintain their identity and prolong their independence.
• 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias today, a number expected to increase to 1.4 million in the next 15 years.
• Three out of four Canadians know someone with dementia.
• Women represent 72 per cent of Canadians living with Alzheimer’s.
• For every person with the disease, two or more family members provide care. Women account for 70 per cent of family caregivers.
• In 2011 alone, caregivers spent 444 million unpaid hours providing care. That’s the equivalent of $11 billion in lost income or 230,000 full-time jobs.
• Dementia costs the Canadian economy $33 billion per year. By 2040, that figure will skyrocket to $293 billion per year.
• Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia. After age 65, the risk doubles every five years.
• Dementia also occurs in people in their 50s, 40s and even in their 30s.
• The causes of dementia are not fully known, and there is still no cure or effective treatment to prevent or reverse the disease.
• Dementia is a collective term to describe brain disorders with symptoms that include: decline in memory, reasoning and communication skills; gradual loss in ability to carry out day-to-day activities; and changes in personality and behaviour.
• Dementia can be present in the brain for up to 25 years before symptoms appear.
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