Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most prevalent form of dementia, is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks and ultimately death. It is estimated that over half a million people in Canada are living with dementia, resulting in a combined healthcare system and caregiver cost of over $10 billion every year. These economic and social costs are set to drastically increase as the number of Canadians living with dementia is estimated to increase by 66% by 2031 to 937,000. Worldwide, at least 55 million people are believed to be living with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias; there are 10 million new cases every year. (WHO 2021)
Because of the enormous medical, social, and informal care costs of dementia to both countries and individuals, if global dementia care were a country, it would be the 18th largest economy in the world. The annual care costs for 2019 were US$1.3 trillion, as unbelievable as the market values of companies such as Apple (US $2.78 trillion) and Google (US $1.95 trillion).
Although AD was discovered in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, little progress has been made in the last 100+ years in trying to determine either the cause of the disease or a cure. No treatments exist to stop or reverse its progression, though some may temporarily improve symptoms. Research is discovering ways to help prevent the onset of dementia; for example, undergoing cataract surgery or using hearing aides if necessary are associated with a lower risk of developing dementia. But there is no cure in sight.
The sad reality is that the world is still in denial about diagnosing dementia; it is the most feared disease of those over 65.
Since dementia cannot yet be prevented, it’s wise for everyone to understand how to reduce their risk for this devastating illness. This session will benefit you, your family, and your clients.
*Note that this course contains updated information from Karen Henderson's previous course on Alzheimer's disease.
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