September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day. Ontarians are joining with people from around the globe to celebrate the progress made in the last century against the devastating impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Some of the news is good. A report released last week by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) shows that diagnosis and early interventions make a real difference for people with dementia, families and caregivers. Drugs are available, for example, that can slow the progress of disease; psychological and social supports help people plan for the future, understand the impact of the disease and stay better connected with their families as the disease progresses.
The bad news is that the majority of people, even in Canada, do not get a diagnosis early enough in the disease. The missed opportunity has grievous results around the world. InOntario, we’re working on it. We have some excellent examples in this province of how medical professionals are working together to help people get diagnosed, and we have a long way to go.
But of course the best intervention we could hope for is to find a cure. Funding research to find that cure remains a top priority for me, and for the Alzheimer Society ofOntario. The projected doubling of the number of people with dementia in the next 20 years gives us a tremendous sense of urgency.
And you can help!
Right now, for example, you could host a Coffee Break to raise funds for programs that support people with dementia. Or volunteer at your local Alzheimer Society. Or make a personal donation to research. Or learn more about the disease for your own and your family’s benefit.
Or become a Champion for Dementia! Ontario goes to the polls on October 6. Find out how you can help make Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias a top of mind priority for the next Ontario government.
We encourage everyone during World Alzheimer’s month to work together for a cure. I’d be happy to hear from you about what you are doing…or any ideas you have for the Alzheimer Society to provide even better support for people with dementia and their families.
Alzheimer Society of Ontario Board President