Thursday, March 17

Early Diagnosis Keeps Life from Unraveling

50% of dementia cases go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, losing precious time. Early care and support can make a tremendous difference. Learn 4 advantages of an early diagnosis.

TORONTO - 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 the Alzheimer Society launched the website, 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% 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 has four main advantages:
  1. It opens the door to important information and resources. These include support through local Alzheimer Societies or Alzheimer's Associations, which help people with dementia focus on their abilities to remain independent in their homes and communities longer.
  2. With early diagnosis, people can access medications that, although not effective for everyone, have the greatest impact when taken early.
  3. On a practical level, an early diagnosis gives someone the chance to explain the changes happening in their life to family and friends.
  4. An early diagnosis allows families to plan ahead, medically, financially, legally and personally.
"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."

Visit the Alzheimer's Weekly Diagnosis Section to learn how to spot the signs of dementia, understand the benefits of a diagnosis and prepare for a doctor's visit.


This awareness campaign was 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, 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.

Alzheimer Society of Canada

10 Benefits of an Early Diagnosis:

10 Warning Signs of Dementia:


  1. Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a descriptive term for a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders that affect the brain.

    1. I'm pretty sure they are referring to neurocognitive disorders like Alzheimer's disease.

  2. I Just wish that Scotland had something like this for the thousands of Scot,s living with it.

  3. Agree, but you missed the most important advantage after planning ahead. Early diagnosis provides the opportunity to move on and enjoy every day while one is still early in the disease. It provides the time and ability to make the most of every moment to live, laugh and love. In that way, an early diagnosis is liberating. It certainly was for me!


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