Alzheimers, The Census and The Days of Awe

Sept. 21, 2012, by Audrey Miller

There are so many things that I wanted to write about for today’s blog; including that today is World Alzheimer’s Day which is important to note as the incidence of dementia and Alzheimers appears to be steadily on the increase. Today in Canada, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease once every five minutes, and the cost to the healthcare system is $15 billion annually. In 30 years, someone will be diagnosed with Alzheimer`s disease once every two minutes, and the cost will be $153 billion. Dementia is overwhelming for those living with the disease and their caregivers. The scope of the looming medical care disaster is beyond compare. By 2050, the world population over age 60 will be two billion. The risk of dementia doubles with every five-year increment past age 65. These numbers tie into the new Census data, which is the next topic that I wanted to mention and includes:

+The number of seniors aged 65 and over increased 14.1% between 2006 and 2011 to nearly 5 million. This rate of growth was higher than that of children aged 14 and under (0.5%) and people aged 15 to 64 (5.7%)
+In 2011, there were 5, 825 centenarians which is up 25.7% since 2006
+The number of children living with their grandparents has also risen to 4.8% of all children aged 14, up from 3.3% in 2001.

Simply, we are living longer and our health needs increase over the years. Our friends and families are living longer as well, which means we may be living with them or around them for longer periods of time. The third topic which I briefly wanted to mention was that of forgiveness. The Jewish New Year was just celebrated and the time between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is known as the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance. During the Days of Awe, one tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against others.

All of these themes do tie together. As we live longer, our history and relationships with others can become muddled and while some of us may be forgetting things, it is an opportune time to reflect upon our own actions and to apologize and forgive those around us.

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