Up to 50 per cent of Canadians with dementia wait too long for diagnosis

January 7, 2014

Early diagnosis keeps lives from unravelling says Alzheimer Society
during Alzheimer Awareness Month

TORONTO, Jan. 7, 2014 /CNW/ – 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.

But 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’s campaign website, www.earlydiagnosis.ca, to learn how to spot the signs of dementia, understand the benefits of
a diagnosis and prepare for a doctor’s visit. This year’s awareness
campaign is proudly supported by the KPMG Foundation.

*Bradford, A. (2009). Missed and delayed diagnosis of dementia in
primary care: Prevalence and contributing factors. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders. Retrieved from www.alzheimerjournal.com, October-December 2009.

About Alzheimer’s disease

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 these 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.

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
communities right across Canada, the Society offers help for today
through our programs and services, and hope for tomorrow by funding
research into the cause, prevention and a cure.

SOURCE Alzheimer Society of Canada

Source: PR Newswire

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