Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia in Canada
Dementia is the most significant cause of disability among Canadians 65+ and as time goes on the problem is only going to get worse. This is an issue that touches and affects many Canadians, with over a third of Canadians knowing someone that has dementia.
But the problem goes beyond direct involvement with those suffering from dementia; the economic burden too affects all of us. By 2038 it is estimated that 1.13 million Canadians will suffer from dementia, up from approximately 500,000 that currently have some form of it.
The cause of this explosive growth is two-fold. First, the population is growing, so that causes rates of dementia to increase. Second, the baby boomers are just now beginning to hit the age of 65, so in the next 5 years there is predicted to be as much as a 50% increase in Canadians suffering from dementia. 2011 was the first year of baby boomers reaching age 65, and so rates are going to increase substantially until roughly 2040.
In 2008 the economic burden felt by Canada due to dementia was $15 billion. By 2038 it is estimated that this could increase to a whopping $153 billion, an increase of more than 10x in only 30 years! The cumulative economic burden by 2038 is estimated to be $872 billion and demand for long-term care is estimated to increase 10x. This shows that there needs to be serious discussion about the future of dementia care in Canada, before it is too late and the economic costs overwhelm the health care system.
Long-term care beds are expected to increase from 280,000 in 2008 to 690,000 in 2038, but while this may seem like a large increase, it will still result in a shortfall of 157,000 needed beds. The method of dealing with dementia is increasingly heading in the direction of stay at home care as the government attempts to slash costs in dealing with dementia. In-home care has been shown to be more cost effective and as such the percentage of Canadians living at home with dementia is expected to jump from 55% to 62% by 2038. This translates to an extra 510,000 people with dementia living at home. With this jump comes an increase in the need for programs, materials and support for the paid and unpaid caregivers such as the Montessori activities and training we offer at Dementia Support.
Not only are economic costs increasing, but so is the time being spent by informal caregivers to take care of those with dementia. In 2008, approximately 231 million hours were spent on informal care. This number is estimated to increase to 756 million hours by 2038. With so many hours being spent on care giving, relief for the care givers is going to become even more important as time goes on. One-in-five Canadians who are 45+ are providing care to seniors with long-term health problems, and half of caregivers in Canada are between 45 and 54. They have families to take care of and jobs they are responsible for, and the added stress of care giving can be a serious issue.
Dementia in Toronto
Taking a look at an even more local level, it is estimated that there were roughly 39,000 people in Toronto living with dementia in 2010. By 2015, this is expected to increase to 44,000 and then increase again to 49,000 in 2020. We are seeing an increase of about 1,000 people suffering from dementia each year, with the rate increasing. By 2030 the rate will increase to almost 2,000 additional people per year.
For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.