A newly released study from the Alzheimer Society of Canada predicts a 187 percent increase in Canadians suffering from dementia by 2050; dementia is the general term for the loss of cognitive functions that affect the everyday life of those diagnosed.
Airdrie isn't immune to this growing issue, with not just a higher number of cases but cases in younger age ranges.
“In recent years here at Bethany Airdrie, there has been a greater presentation of dementia in individuals younger than the typical 70-80 age range that we have seen; individuals as young as 50 or in their early 50s have been presented to us with dementia,” said Shelly Rolfe, the administrator for Bethany Care Airdrie.
As of 2024, more than 650 thousand Canadians are living with dementia, and this number is expected to rise to over one million by 2030.
For situations with a rising concern, like the rising cases of dementia, Alberta Health Services is providing resources to assist.
“We partner with AHS to support individuals living with dementia; a new partnership we have with AHS is the Adult Day Support Programs, which is facilitated through our site by Alberta Health Staff,” said Rolfe.
Other resources provided include Health Link and 811, but residents can also contact private care agencies should they wish to care for their loved ones at home.
With cases of dementia on the rise, the Alzheimer's Society wants all residents to be aware of the risk factors that can lead to dementia, with there being factors that can be modified and those that can't.
“Things like age and genetics are those nonmodifiable risk factors,” Rolfe said
While age and genetics can provide an unmodifiable risk of dementia, there are a wide range of factors that can be changed regarding an individual's lifestyle.
“It’s in our best interest to always be physically active, to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Keeping our medical conditions well managed. So, making sure that your blood pressure is well managed, your cholesterol, your blood sugar, and keeping your weight within the recommended ranges for your height,” said Rolfe
Other factors that can be managed include staying socially connected, making healthy food choices, reducing stress, and challenging your brain.
Cases of dementia are expected to get worse in the coming years, and local care facilities are preparing for the uptake in cases; individuals are encouraged to stay up to date on info and continue to make healthy life choices.
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