Dementia rates on the rise in Langley

The Alzheimer's Society of B.C. is working to shine a spotlight on dementias.

Avalon Tournier is the Alzheimer Society of B.C. education and support coordinator for the Langley area.

Alzheimer disease seems like a very lonely, isolating disease, yet its impacts affect family, friends, and the larger community.

That’s why the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is trying to spotlight the disease during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month with the hashtag campaign #InItForAlz.

“It’s about making dementia not just someone else’s problem, but everyone’s concern. Dementia should be a cause that we can all rally around because we embrace people living with the disease,” said Avalon Tournier, a regional education and support coordinator for the society for Langley and the North Fraser region.

Society is going to be faced with what to do about this disease more and more in the future. The number of Canadians living with dementia is expected to nearly double in the next 15 years, according to the organization. Some 65 per cent of those diagnosed with dementia – who are 65 or older – are female.

“Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias affect thousands of families in British Columbia,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is an opportunity to learn more about how we can support people in our community who are living with the disease.”

Visit alzheimerbc.org to learn about the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s support services in the area and make a donation to help people in the province who are living with the disease.

Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Symptoms may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.

A person with dementia may also experience changes in mood or behaviour. Dementia is not a specific disease but can include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body disease, frontotemporal dementia, and others. These conditions can have similar and overlapping symptoms.

Alzheimer societies across Canada provide programs and support services to help people with all forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, and their caregivers. Since 1989, the national society has invested more than $50 million in research.