January is Alzheimer’s awareness month. Such awareness is essential as we have entered the age of Alzheimer’s.
This crisis is predicted to grow year by year for decades to come affecting millions worldwide.
Currently, 70,000 here in BC are inflicted with this dreadful disease, some with early onset, meaning they were 40 to 65 years of age and likely still in the throes of career or raising a family when the diagnoses came.
Sadly, early onset often is discovered through a poor job evaluation and many sleepless nights trying to figure out what is going on.
One is left desperate to fathom the future while having the knowledge that you will slide back to being a child again.
If you are fortunate, you may have a loved one in which to walk together through the maze that is dementia.
Imagine the courage it takes to reach out your hand to another and say, I am so frightened, I am so sorry and I am so grateful.
Alzheimer’s is not just memory loss but the slow unrelenting deterioration of all human functions and unfolds differently for all.
Recently, a member of the Danish Alzheimer’s support community suggested that in regards to dementia care, Canada was in the dark ages.
The validity of such a statement is up for debate but what is not is that Canada is the only member of the G8 without a plan plus all countries in the European Union have created a strategy. This is both baffling and unacceptable.
Billions have been invested worldwide to find a possible cure but it has proven to be elusive.
While the search goes on it is imperative that appropriate care be provided for those afflicted and essential support be available for the caregivers up against challenges that can best be described as daunting.
Finding a way to keep those who suffer in their homes as long as possible and creating the highest quality of life through thoughtful, nuanced care is the least we can do for these incredibly vulnerable people.
Our current care facility model is antiquated and we can do better. Canada needs a plan. Please add your voice and kindness to the discussion for the sake of us all.