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Early diagnosis keeps lives from unravelling

Wednesday, January 08, 2014   by: SooToday.com Staff

Terry Caporossi, Executive Director, Alzheimer Society of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District was at City Council on Monday to hear Mayor Amaroso read an official proclamation declairing January Alzheimer Awareness Month. 

2011 marked the year that the first wave of baby boomers turned 65. 

Almost 2,500 people in Algoma district are living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, Caporossi told the Mayor and Council members. 

Within a generation, this number could almost double, and the costs of caring for individuals with dementia will have the potential to overwhelm our health care system. 

January is Alzheimer Awareness Month. 

This year, our awareness campaign focuses on the benefits of early diagnosis.

A news release from the Alzheimer Sociey of Sault Ste. Marie follows.

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TORONTO - As many as 50 percent of Canadians with dementia 

are not diagnosed early enough, losing precious time when care and support can make a

tremendous difference in their quality of life and avert unnecessary crises for their families.



That's why during Alzheimer Awareness Month the Alzheimer Society is launching a new

 campaign, Early diagnosis keeps your life from unravelling, to promote the benefits of

early diagnosis.



But fear and stigma continue to be huge barriers to seeking help.

In a recent Nanos survey, 

60 percent of Canadians polled said it would be harder to disclose if they, or someone close 

to them, had Alzheimer’s disease compared to other diseases because of the social stigma

 associated with mental health issues.



Earlier diagnosis opens the door to important information, resources and support through

local Alzheimer Societies and helps people with dementia focus on their abilities to remain 

independent in their homes and communities longer.

With early diagnosis, people can

 access medications which, although may not work for everyone, are most effective when 

taken early.

On a practical level, an early diagnosis gives someone the chance to explain

the changes happening in their life to family and friends and allows families to plan ahead.



"Seventy-four percent of Canadians know someone with dementia and more and more

 Canadians will continue to develop the disease. We want to make sure they’re getting

the help they need at every stage of the disease,” says Janice Seppala, Public Education 

Coordinator.

“As devastating as the news can be, early diagnosis brings relief to families,

gives them control over their situation and adds more years of living active and fulfilling

lives."



Throughout January, Canadians are encouraged to visit the Alzheimer Society’s campaign

 website, earlydiagnosis.ca/diagnosticprecoce.ca, to learn how to spot the signs of

dementia, understand the benefits of a diagnosis and prepare for a doctor's visit.

This year’s

awareness campaign is proudly supported by the KPMG Foundation.



Today 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, with this

 number expected to increase to 1.4 million in less than 20 years.

Although Canada's aging

 demographic will continue to fuel these numbers, increasingly people in their 40's and 

50's are also being affected.

Growing evidence also shows that brain changes resulting in

 dementia can begin 25 years before symptoms appear.



About the Alzheimer Society



The Alzheimer Society of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District is a charitable organization 

that was formed in 1985 and is a leading health care organization for people affected by 

dementia in Algoma district.

The Society provides enhanced support and education services

for people with the disease, their families, and their caregivers.

The Society has a main

office in Sault Ste. Marie and satellite offices in Elliot Lake and Wawa.

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