January 16, 2013

Alzheimer’s disease affects a large number of British Columbian adults: 39 per cent know someone with the disease, and the majority (61 per cent) are concerned about getting Alzheimer’s disease in the future. There is optimism though, as 52 per cent expect there will be a cure in the next 10 years.

A recent survey conducted jointly by Insights West and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. finds that the majority of British Columbians are concerned about being diagnosed with this brain degenerative disease. It is the third most feared disease among British Columbians after cancer (74 per cent) and heart disease (69 per cent). This finding is particularly alarming since the prevalence of the disease is not as high in B.C. as cancer, heart disease, or even diabetes.

“Age is the greatest known risk factor and our baby boomers, the largest demographic group in our population have now started to enter the 65 plus years. There is still a lot we don’t know about the causes and we don’t have a cure so it’s not a surprise that Alzheimer’s disease is ranked so high as a health concern,” says Jean Blake, CEO, Alzheimer Society of B.C.

A more encouraging finding from the survey is that 52 per cent of respondents believe there will be a cure found in the next 10 years. In the meantime, says Blake, there needs to be more awareness and education about the disease.

Dementia is more than just memory loss and when intervention comes in the mid to late stages of the disease, the reality of the impact is often unexpected and incredibly overwhelming as this heartbreaking illness progresses.

“An early diagnosis means earlier access to support and medical treatments to help manage the symptoms of the disease, says Blake. “Earlier intervention to plan for and manage the challenges on the dementia journey can be done in advance with quality of life as a priority.”

While concern about being diagnosed with the disease is high we know there is still more work to be done around the awareness and education about the disease, says Blake.

The Charitable Giving Insights study found that although the Alzheimer Society of B.C. ranks high in terms of brand awareness among B.C. non-profit organizations, only about 14 per cent of British Columbian adults have made a donation to the Society in the past. Very encouraging to the Society is the fact that nearly double the number of adults who have heard of the organization express a willingness to donate to the cause in the future.

To learn more about the many ways to give to the Alzheimer Society of B.C. go to the donations page.


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