As many as 50 per cent of Canadians with dementia are not diagnosed early enough, according to a 2009 study entitled “Missed and delayed diagnosis of dementia in primary care: Prevalence and contributing factors.” One consequence of this is the loss of 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 in January, the Alzheimer Society of Perth County is supporting a national campaign to promote the benefits of early diagnosis.
Fear and stigma continue to be huge barriers to seeking help. However, earlier diagnosis opens the door to important information, resources and support, which helps people with dementia focus on their abilities to remain independent in their homes and communities longer. With early diagnosis, people gain access to medications that, although not effective for everyone, have the greatest impact 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 per cent 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 Mimi Lowi-Young, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. “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, www.earlydiagnosis.ca, to learn how to spot the signs of dementia, understand the benefits of a diagnosis and prepare for a doctor’s visit.
Meanwhile, here in Perth County, there are various ways to support the work of the Alzheimer Society during January.
Coming right up this weekend, you can come and warm up with the Alzheimer Society of Perth County! With winter-themed fare available showcasing the talents of over 30 local vendors, the 19th annual Soup’s On fundraiser will be the perfect tonic for this colder-than-average winter. The event, running Saturday, Jan. 11 from 11 a.m. until noon at the Rotary Complex on McCarthy Road in Stratford, offers amazing local food, great entertainment, a silent auction and the much-anticipated “Soup’er Raffle.”
Admission is by donation, with proceeds to the Alzheimer Society.
Plan to support the Alzheimer Society of Perth County by attending “Soup's On,” as well as the upcoming Run and Walk for Memories. That annual 5-km and 10-km event takes place on Saturday, Jan. 25, both indoors and outdoors at Stratford Northwestern Secondary School.
Individuals, families and teams participate by collecting pledges to support the information, education, support and counselling services provided by the Alzheimer Society to individuals and families across Perth County. The Run and Walk attract participants of all ages who enjoy a morning of fun and socializing, knowing that their efforts will help make a difference in the lives of people in our local community.
At the same time as the Stratford Northwestern event, a 5-km Walk will be held inside at Listowel District Secondary School.
Registration begins at 9 a.m., there will be a group warm-up at 9:45 a.m., and the Run and Walk begin at 10 a.m. Participants can register today at www.walkformemories.ca.
For more information about these events, or to speak to someone about your concerns, please go to our website at www.alzheimerperthcounty.com.