The front page of the Globe and Mail on September 16, 2010 announced, “Dementia: Confronting the crisis - Every five minutes, another Canadian faces life robbed of memories, skills, relationships and independence.”
“More senior citizens are in Canada’s future, and more of them will be living longer. Dementia will loom increasingly large. Already there are 100,000 new cases each year, and rising. An estimated 1.1 million Canadians will suffer from dementia in 2038, up from 480,000 now. The direct costs of caring for them today are $8-billion a year; between now and 2038, the total spent directly on care will be $92-billion. The loss of an individual’s ability to contribute to herself, her family and society is, on a community-wide scale, impossible to calculate.” (Globe and Mail, September 18, 2010)
Most of us have been taught that how well we function mentally is a characteristic that we’re born with and that we can’t do much about. Happily that’s far from true! There is just as much we can do to improve and protect our cognitive functioning as there is to prevent something like heart disease. In fact, many steps we can take to prevent heart disease will also prevent a decline in mental functioning as we age.