Report from Alzheimer Society of Canada predicts sharp increase in the number of Canadians who will be living with dementia over the next three decades if no action is taken
TORONTO, ON–Canada faces serious challenges in supporting people living with dementia and their care partners over the next three decades. However, a new study released today by the Alzheimer Society of Canada says actions to reduce the risk factors associated with dementia could make a big difference in overall numbers, despite our aging population.
The new report, called Navigating the Path Forward for Dementia in Canada is the first volume of The Landmark Study, which has been prepared by the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The three-volume study represents the most significant update of the prevalence of dementia in Canada and its forecasted growth since the Society’s Rising Tide report, which was issued in 2010. The two subsequent volumes, which will deal with the economic and social impact of dementia in Canada over the next three decades, will be released later this year.
“As Canada’s baby-boom generation continues to age, the number of people in Canada living with dementia will rise significantly over the next 30 years,” says the study’s author, Dr. Joshua Armstrong of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. “The impact of this change, both on the number of people living with dementia and their care partners, can be lessened if governments and individual Canadians are prepared to take action to reduce the modifiable risk factors associated with the onset of dementia.”
Among the highlights of the report are:
In 2020, there were 597,300 cases of dementia in Canada. By 2030, we can expect this number reach close to one million. By 2050, the number of cases will almost triple the 2020 level, meaning over 1.7 million Canadians will be living with dementia.
Ontario is expecting to see the number of people living with dementia more than triple in the next 30 years, accounting for an increase of 505,846 cases. This is a 202 per cent increase in comparison to 2020 estimates of dementia in the province.
The Landmark Study developed three hypothetical scenarios where the onset of dementia in Canadians was delayed by 1, 5 or 10 years.
All three hypothetical scenarios demonstrate the power of risk reduction from a national standpoint. Even a small delay of one year could result in almost 500,000 fewer new cases by 2050 and make a huge difference in national dementia rates across the three decades.
While some risk factors for dementia are not able to be modified, there are concrete ways many individuals and governments can reduce the risk of dementia.
If the onset of dementia could be delayed by 10 years, over 4 million new cases of dementia could be avoided by 2050.
Delaying the onset of dementia could also have an enormous impact on caregiving for people living with dementia in Canada. A 10-year delay in onset of dementia could reduce the number of caregiving hours needed by almost 1 billion hours per year.
“We hope this study will remind Canadians that dementia is not part of the normal process of aging and that there are steps people and institutions can take to reduce risks of dementia,” says Kevin Noel, Interim CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. “Governments at all levels also have a role to play by providing funds for dementia research and supporting programs that help people living with dementia and their caregivers to have the best possible quality of life.”
“This Landmark Study is crucial for all Canadians and policy makers, alike. Dementia promises to be devastating in the coming years and we must do all we can to reduce risk and prevent dementia,” says Cathy Barrick, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.
About the Alzheimer Society
The Alzheimer Society is a Federation of 26 community support providers, operating in every corner of Ontario. We supported over 100,000 clients last year, including both care partners and people living with dementia. We provide education and training to physicians and other healthcare professionals, as well as the general public. With hundreds of staff and thousands of volunteers, we seek to alleviate the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and promote research into a cure and disease-altering treatment.