Some thoughts for Alzheimer’s Month: the scoop on dementia

Dementia Care Cost Is Projected to Double by 2040— the headline was very dramatic and from the trusted New York Times (April 3, 2013). Similar articles have appeared in Canada’s main newspapers as well.

The implications were potentially enormous in terms of costs to society and challenges to caregivers and family members.  

During the past few years there have been doom and gloom predictions have flooded the media about the negative impact of the increasingly aged population, and that would include vast numbers of those living with dementia. This is so much the case that when it comes to creating public policy, one often hears various government representatives and those in charge of health and finance portfolios prepare the population for drastic changes in funding because of the hysterically classified “tsunami of dementia”.

So it was with a sigh of great relief that The New York Times carried the following headline on July 16, 2013: Dementia Rate Is Found to Drop Sharply, as Forecast leading an article written by Gina Kolata. The essential message from the article was, “A new study has found that dementia rates among people 65 and older in England and Wales have plummeted by 25 percent over the past two decades, to 6.2 percent from 8.3 percent, a trend that researchers say is probably occurring across developed countries and that could have major social and economic implications for families and societies”.

So while the researchers are looking for pharmaceutical or dietary curative or preventive “magic bullets” and the pharmaceutical industry is supporting their efforts, with a focus on early diagnosis, everyone can already take the known steps to promote their own brain health by eliminating smoking, exercising, decreasing blood pressure levels and lipid levels, and eating as healthy a diet as reasonably possible and keep their brains as active as possible. That is all we can do while the saga of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia unfold.

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