September is World Alzheimer’s Month, an opportunity to raise awareness of dementia and challenge its stigma. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia, and it is estimated that 50 million people worldwide live with dementia, which is predicted to triple, rising to 152 million by 2050. In Canada alone, more than 402,000 people 65 years and older live with dementia.
Early diagnosis of dementia is essential for life planning, as well as for learning about and accessing the best available treatments.
If you are a caregiver of a loved one with dementia, the emotional and physical demands can be enormous. Fortunately, there are multicomponent strategies that can help family caregivers care for themselves while continuing to look after their loved ones.
Are you a caregiver looking for helpful resources?
Being a caregiver to someone with dementia can be an emotional rollercoaster. It can also be time-consuming and costly. There are often many challenging behaviours associated with dementia, including, but not limited to, agitation, aggression, wandering, and resistance to care. The good news is that non-drug approaches for people with dementia, supported by recent high-quality research, may help. Preliminary research also shows that engaging in meaningful activities outside of care home settings can improve psychological well-being in older adults with dementia.
While taking care of a loved one can be all-encompassing, it is critical to take care of yourself as well. Utilizing respite services and other available community supports can provide a much-needed break for caregivers with a heavy burden and relieve stress. Whenever you are in contact with the health and social services system (for example, when your loved one is about to return home from the hospital), do not hesitate to ask questions about respite services and other supports available in your community. A guide like the one prepared by Health Quality Ontario can help you have such conversations.
Are you interested in learning more about dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease?
You can browse the content below to see what the research says about exercise and activity, cholesterol-lowering drugs and whether they can prevent dementia, how to diagnose dementia, and more. You can also watch highlights from a public talk we hosted with Jay Ingram and Dr. Christopher Patterson on “The Science of Alzheimer's: Where Are We Going?” if you know someone who would benefit from trustworthy resources on the topic, share with them too!