Toronto, September 20, 2012 — Although Canadians are aware that the incidence of Alzheimer’s is expected to double in the next 15 years, a vast majority of them have not prepared a homecare contingency plan in the event that they or a loved one is diagnosed with the disease, which currently affects more than half a million in Canada.
To mark World Alzheimer’s Day (September 21) and the launch of its new Caregiver Series Guide on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, We Care Home Health Services commissioned a survey to determine Canadians’ levels of awareness surrounding Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as their preparedness to take on a caregiver role. The survey also compared knowledge amongst Canadians currently acting as a caregiver for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s to those that are not.
According to the survey, the vast majority (79 per cent) of non-caregivers do not have homecare contingency plans in place for themselves or a loved one in the event of an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis. In contrast those already acting in a caregiver capacity for a loved one suffering from the disease were more likely to have a plan with more than half (55 per cent) of current caregivers indicating they have made plans. When asked if they were aware that the number of Canadians living with Alzheimer's is expected to more than double in the next 15 years, almost three quarters (73 per cent) of caregivers responded “yes” while the number dropped to about half (52 per cent) among non-caregivers.
While Lane stresses the need for all aging Canadians to consider developing a homecare contingency plan, she also points out that in the case of Alzheimer’s or dementia, the need is especially real for women. Currently almost three quarters (72 per cent) of Canadians with Alzheimer’s are women – a statistic that the survey revealed was unknown by 57 per cent of caregivers and 77 per cent of non-caregivers.
While the role of a caregiver can be a rewarding experience, it can also be physically, emotionally and financially challenging. When current caregivers were asked what their biggest fear was when they realized their loved one was showing initial symptoms of Alzheimer’s, 25 per cent feared feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope, and 21 per cent feared being physically unable to care for their loved one on their own.
For more information, or to get a free copy of We Care’s Caregiver Series Guide on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, please call 1-855-699-3227 or visit www.wecare.ca.
About the survey
The survey was completed online between September 13th and September 18th, 2012 with a sample of 793 Canadians using the LegerWeb panel, 250 of whom are currently a caregiver for a person suffering from Alzheimer's. The margin of error for a representative sample of 250 caregivers is considered accurate within ± 6.2%, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error for a representative sample 543 non-caregivers is considered accurate within ± 4.2%, 19 times out of 20.
1. Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society. (2010). Alzheimer Society of Canada