Newsletter September 2010

We are well into the month of September and for many, this is a very  busy time- a new school year, the beginning of Fall and for our Jewish families, the start of a New Year.  While it can be a time of reflection, it is also a time for looking ahead.  We are another year older and hopefully just a little bit wiser.

Our eNewsletter this month highlights the costs of living longer and what this may mean for you.

Did you know there are currently 79 people around the world who are over the age of 110 with 76 being female? The Gerontology Research Group (US based research foundation classifies this population as the Supercentenarians – what an achievement and at what cost?

With the quality of life improving in most first world nations, more and more people can expect to live longer. This is especially true for Canadian women as they can expect to live an average of 83 years, 4.7 years longer than their male counterparts (Globe and Mail, Feb. 23, 2010).

Why do  women live longer? Disease, illness and other debilitating factors  tend to affect women and men differently. A newspaper article from the Globe and Mail, dated September 8, 2010 highlighting a study from the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre, described how men are more susceptible to having “senior moments” but women tend to have a higher prevalence for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Women may be living longer but at what price?

The report “Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society,”  commissioned by the Alzheimer Society, summarizes that the country is facing a dementia epidemic and a “comprehensive national plan” is required to contain it

This weekend’s Globe and Mail article (Sept 18, 2010) devotes a series on highlighting the dementia epidemic.  André Picard, in his commentary  in The Globe and Mail on January 3, 2010, noted that supporting the aging population will be financially costly as health care supports already take away 40 per cent of government expenditures. With women and men both living longer and the rate of Alzheimer’s disease increasing substantially (an estimated 257,800 new cases by 2038), caregivers and tax payers alike can expect to be footing the healthcare bill for years to come.

It is important to be aware of the current state of the health care system, because at one point, we may be relying on it.  The need for a national action plan is key in helping us better understand the implications of living and dying with a dementia and ways we can better cope.

Alzheimer’s Week is from September 20-24, 2010.  There are events across every major city.   Get informed, donate, participate.

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