January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
Monday, January 13, 2014 — Deron Hamel
The Alzheimer Society of Canada is promoting the importance of early diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in its campaign Early Diagnosis Keeps Your Life from Unravelling.
The campaign was launched at the beginning of January to mark Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in Canada. The Alzheimer Society is encouraging Canadians to visit the campaign’s website, http://www.earlydiagnosis.ca, to learn more about dementia. By visiting the site, people will learn about symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as about why early diagnosis is important.
With early diagnosis, people who have dementia can access needed supports earlier and even avoid potential crisis situations. Unfortunately, people often don’t get early diagnosis. The reason, the society explains, is largely due to stigma about the disease. According to one Canadian survey, 60 per cent of respondents said it would be difficult for them to tell others they had had dementia because of preconceived notions about mental health.
The Alzheimer Society estimates 747,000 Canadians — many of whom live in long-term care homes — have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and the number is expected to climb to 1.4 million by 2031.
“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, the Alzheimer Society’s CEO, in a statement.
“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.”
The campaign’s launch comes on the heels of a conference in London in December, where G8 health ministers pledged to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. The conference was held to address concern about the increasing number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia worldwide.
Related story: G8 health ministers commit to curing dementia by 2025
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