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:
- 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.
- 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.
- An early diagnosis allows families to plan ahead, medically, financially, legally and personally.
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 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.
Alzheimer Society of Canada
10 Benefits of an Early Diagnosis:
10 Warning Signs of Dementia: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2014/01/07/20140107_C7011_DOC_EN_35324.pdf