Latimer: Living with onset of dementia

Relatively recent findings suggest some preventive strategies seem to help in dementia.

As our population ages, the impact of age-related illnesses increase as well as the cost to our health care systems and the care burden on family members and society.

Dementia is one such condition having a huge and increasing impact all over the world.

Rates are increasing rapidly everywhere and there is to date little that can be done to slow it.

In spite of much research and many attempts, we have yet to find a cure or even an effective medication to manage or slow the progress of this devastating illness.

In Canada, almost 750,000 people currently have dementia.

If numbers continue to increase as projected, 1.4 million people will have dementia by 2031.

Right now, this costs us $33 billion a year and that is expected to balloon to $293 billion by 2040.

In addition to health care costs, many of us are also caring for family members as they age.

Right now, one in five Canadians over the age of 45 are providing care to seniors.

That number will rise significantly as the baby boom generation gets further into the senior years.

For those currently in their 30s, there is a strong likelihood of eventually having to balance career, child care and caring for parents.

Though this care is unpaid, it also costs the economy in lost productivity and can result in increased stress and emotional burden for caregivers.

Fortunately, relatively recent findings do suggest some preventive strategies seem to help in dementia.

One in three cases of Alzheimer’s disease can be attributed to lifestyle factors that can be adjusted.

Some evidence suggests changes in the brain could begin up to 25 years before symptoms appear—meaning health choices in middle age can have an impact later in life.

Maintaining a healthy body weight and regular physical activity seem to make a difference.

One study predicts for each unit increase in body mass index at age 50, dementia symptoms appear about 6 months earlier.

Another study showed those who engaged in physical activity at least twice a week in mid-life had half the dementia risk of sedentary people.

Education is also protective and listed as the top modifiable risk factor for dementia worldwide.

Early and somewhat controversial research in Europe suggests some of these preventive efforts are helping to stabilize numbers developing dementia.

Studies in the United Kingdom and Spain show reductions in numbers of people over 65 who are living with dementia.

Fortunately, when it comes to getting more exercise, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and education, there are no down sides. These are positive steps we can all take that help us enjoy life at every stage—the bonus is they could also protect us as we age.

Just Posted

Busy morning for Kelowna Fire Department

Fire department deals with two separate fire calls around the same time on Monday morning

Kelowna’s opioid death rate tops Vancouver’s

Death toll mounting due to opioids

Lake Country residents provide input

On Thursday, the citizen OCP workshop will build on the community input gathered at June’s On Point session

Lake Country’s old highway piling up with garbage

Cleanup efforts are being planned for garbage found along Pelmewash Parkway

Peachland seniors keeping active this fall

Senior’s group south of Kelowna has plenty going on if you are over 55

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Rolston Quartet connects with Kelowna audience

Chamber Music Kelowna kicked off their 38th season on last Wednesday night

National silver for Heat men’s golf

UBC Okanagan follows up PACWEST silver with second-place effort at CCAA’s in Ontario

Contenders to perform at Okanagan venues

This year, musicians Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard will be joined by Blu and Kelly Hopkins

Justin Timberlake invited back to Super Bowl halftime show

A ‘wardrobe malfunction’ with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy during his last appearance

A scary box office weekend for everyone but Tyler Perry

‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ scared up a healthy $21.7 million in its first weekend in theatres

Even as long-form census data returns, Statcan readies for day without it

Wednesday’s release is expected to show immigrants making up a larger share of the population

Letterkenny stars take their act to the Okanagan

The stars of the Crave TV original series Letterkenny will be performing in Kelowna

Brantley Gilbert to take The Ones That Like Me 2018 Tour to Kelowna

With Rolling Stone citing Devil Don’t Sleep Best of 2017, it’s gonna rock

Most Read