Canada, as most people will know, has an aging population and the issue of dementia has become more and more prevalent over the years, as it affects the ability of those afflicted, to live and function independently.
A strategy to address this problem is important given the statistics, however, another interesting aspect of this live issue is the work being done to develop a means of preventing and minimizing the impact of this disease on people in the future.
Dr. Rosanna Olsen is the leader and director of the Olsen Lab and a scientist at the Rotman Research Institute (RRI) at Baycrest as well as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Olsen noted that early detection of dementia is important for effective treatment of the disease. Given that no test can currently detect dementia before the onset of symptoms, Dr. Olsen has undertaken research that will help in the development of non-invasive and cost-effective eye-tracking tests that will identify those at risk of dementia before the onset of the symptoms.
Dr. Olsen will receive $546,975.00 over five years for her work in establishing a set of new eye-tracking and brain-imaging biomarkers that will assist in the earlier detection of Alzheimer’s disease.
I, for one, am very interested in seeing the results of this study and how they may impact the detection of Alzheimer’s disease in the future.
Thanks for reading!
Find this blog interesting? Please consider these other related posts:
As Alzheimer Awareness Month draws to a close, the message the Alzheimer Society of Canada intended to convey in the #StillHere campaign is clear: A diagnosis of dementia does not necessarily mean that an individual is no longer capable of functioning in their daily life.
According to the Alzheimer Society, dementia is often misunderstood. As a result, there can be many stigmas attached to a diagnosis that can impact a person’s ability to effectively manage the disease. For instance, in a survey conducted where participants were asked whether a person living with dementia can continue to live well, half of the respondents answered that they believed that they could not. It is these types of misconceptions and negative attitudes towards dementia that the #StillHere campaign set out to change.
Challenging these perceptions is not always easy. The #StillHere campaign has provided an excellent start with educational videos and stories from persons living with dementia in an effort to encourage the public to test their assumptions. As the Alzheimer Society notes, dementia exists on a spectrum and people with dementia can continue to engage with society in meaningful ways.
In the context of estate litigation, it is quite common to witness the effect that these preconceptions can have. For instance, a will is not automatically invalid as a result of the testator having been diagnosed with dementia prior to its execution. The test for testamentary capacity must be applied and in many cases, it can be found that despite such a diagnosis, the testator was still capable of meeting this standard.
The same can be said with respect to Powers of Attorney for Personal Care. A diagnosis of dementia does not automatically assume that the individual is incapable and that the attorney can now make personal care decisions on their behalf. The diagnosed individual must first be found to be mentally incapable pursuant to s. 45 of the Substitute Decisions Act; a finding that is not necessarily synonymous with a diagnosis of dementia.
Despite legitimate challenges associated with mental impairment, it is important to recognize that a diagnosis of dementia does not immediately suggest the loss of individuality or identity. There is no doubt that dementia is progressive and can eventually lead to severe cognitive impairments; however, as the Alzheimer Society so aptly notes in their campaign, “Life doesn’t end when Alzheimer’s begins.”
Thank you for reading.
A recent study by the Alzheimer Society of Canada reportedly indicates some compelling information about Alzheimer’s diagnosis, including:
· it is estimated that 1.1 million Canadians will be affected by the brain disorder in the next 25 years;
· almost half of Canadians surveyed lived a year or more with their symptoms without seeing a doctor, and 16% of this group waited more than two years;
· among the most common early symptoms were frequent memory loss, disorientation of time and place and changes in personality, and more than half of the respondents indicated the reason for the delay was the belief that symptoms were part of “old age”; and almost a third of respondents cited their family member refusing to see a doctor as cause for delay; and
· delayed diagnosis results in a large treatment gap, and prevents people from getting valuable information about medications, support and better disease management.
The Alzheimer Society of Canada reportedly emphasizes the importance of getting the word out about investigating dementia, since awareness can help one get support, plan for the future and take advantage of the pharmacological and other ways to deal with the disease.
Have a good day,
Natalia R. Angelini – Click here for more information on Natalia Angelini.
The Toronto Star recently reported on Alzheimer’s disease, stating that “cases of the mind-robbing disease will more than double to 1.25 million within 30 years as baby boomers age”.
With the numbers pointing upward as the population grays, a recent report by the Alzheimer Society, entitled Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society suggests the following steps to help reduce the impact of dementia:
1. Prevention programs based on healthy diet and physical activity that can delay the onset of dementia by two years, with a potential cost saving of $219 billion over the 30-year period.
2. Enhanced skill-building and support programs for family caregivers, many of whom suffer financial hardship because they must leave jobs to look after a relative with dementia.
3. Assigning a case manager to each newly diagnosed dementia patient and their caregivers, which could help the person remain at home longer and lessen the strain on the long-term-care system.
Today, annual funding for Alzheimer’s is approximately $24 million. The Toronto Star reports that if “nothing changes, this sharp increase in the number of people living with dementia will mean that by 2038, the total costs associated with dementia will reach $153 billion a year”.
We have already seen a substantial influx with respect to Will challenges, particularly because there has been a big question mark about the testator’s capacity. The grim realty is that this will be a continuing problem that Estate Solicitors are going to have to tackle.
Thank you for reading.
Rick Bickhram – Click here for more information on Rick Bickhram.