Dementia (Part Two)

Seniors Matter – “It is time for all to shake hands”

By George Evens. Some retrospection will identify a road to follow …..BUT, First, (our focus) Seniors’ and a (story) that needs to be told “DEMENTIA”, part two of a sad and ongoing story: ECAC will talk to Citizens about various issues & try to focus Societal attention on Seniors’ important needs in the desire to be part of catalysts to spawn immediate informed attention and needed action to improve Seniors’ lives:

First published May 14, 2013. For Part One o Dementia click here.

DEMENTIA – Roughly 14.9% of Canadians, approximately 747,000 family members, 65 years and older suffer with cognitive impairment, including Dementia. Globally, that translates into 35.6 million people which is greater than the total population of Canada. Rather frightening statistics but sadly unless some cure is found experts estimate dementia stands to double every 20 years which would be beyond catastrophic.

Dementia is not selective and anyone (reading this article, for example) can be stricken, regardless of walks of life or economic status. Therefore, Canada needs a strong informed body, adequately funded and an organized focus nationally, with Provincial representation, possibly under the auspices of an Adult Guardian Act to deal with Dementia. As well, under Federal leadership, all Governments must adopt a way to invest in ‘Home Care’, to keep Seniors’ independent and healthier longer, ultimately saving the health care system money.

Family, Friends & Colleagues are important bell ringers to identify certain behavior traits and signs, as they become apparent, to be able to understand and seek early diagnosis.

Some of the early signs include but are not limited to “Memory Loss that disrupts daily life, such as recently learned information, asking for the same information; Challenges in planning and solving problems, difficulty concentrating and taking longer to do things; confusion with time or place, losing track of dates and passage of time; difficulty completing tasks, driving to a familiar location, remembering rules of a favourite game; Trouble understanding visual images, difficulty judging distance, determining colour or contrast; New problems with words in speaking or writing, difficulty following a conversation, trouble finding the right word, stopping in middle of sentence with no idea how to continue; Misplacing things and unable to retrace their steps to find; Decreased or poor judgment, less attention to grooming and poor judgment dealing with money; withdrawl from work or social activities, ceasing hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports, feeling weary of work, family & social obligations; Changes in mood and personality, becoming confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful & anxious, easily upset and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted”.

Some behavioural changes include but are not limited to wandering, walking away from home with risk of becoming lost; restlessness, pacing, drumming fingers for long period of time (try to distract, calm with music or touch); Repeated actions, repeating words or actions over and over); suspicion, thinks others are trying to harm, accuses others of stealing (provide comfort, don’t argue or reason, distract with another activity); Sexual behavior, may remove clothes, make physical or verbal advances towards others (don’t judge or scold, provide affection, distract with other activities, stay calm); aggression, may exhibit physical and emotional outbursts, such as shouting & hitting (be calm & reassuring, look for immediate cause, give space to cool down, try to distract, leave if safety is threatened).

Diagnosis starts when you or someone close to you feel confused, agitated or forgetful, it is time to visit a Doctor. Early diagnosis means that you can get support and information, treatments that may slow progression of the disease and let you have time to make key financial and care decisions for the future. Once you have a diagnosis, the next step is to tell your family and friends so they may support you in living the best life possible.

There is no single test that can determine Alzheimer’s disease. Diagnosis is made through a series of tests. Doctors making the diagnosis are accurate up to 90% of the time. It can take time, in part, due to waiting lists. As well, the Doctor may require additional consults form a psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, geriatrician, nurse, social worker and/or occupational therapist to identify how problems affect daily functions. Some people with dementia may respond to a cholinesterase inhibitor, so discuss with your Doctor.

Finally, while Society is dealing daily with the apathetic citizen, voter often out of indifference or laziness but the person with dementia can experience an absence or concern about emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical or physical life. They may become depressed or withdrawn and lose interest in activities they used to enjoy. A person with dementia may develop this apathy and feel unmotivated to do anything but does not understand what is happening. One cause is medical, such as the frontal lobe becomes damaged.

This important story was compiled and submitted by The Elder Citizen Action Coalition (ECAC) but barely scratches the surface of Dementia, so it is merely an attempt to awaken readers to this massive dilemma facing Seniors and their Care Givers. ECAC will continue to search for and discuss early signs & detection, diagnosis & understanding some behavior, as results become available. Some information was resourced from and any additional detail can be obtained from Alzheimer Society of Canada 2011 or contact

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