Health Minister Terry Lake today issued the following statement in recognition of January being Alzheimer Awareness Month:
“In British Columbia alone, there are up to 70,000 individuals living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Nearly 10,000 of those affected are individuals under the age of 65. Alzheimer's not only affects individuals, but families and friends. It is a disease that robs those with the illness of their memories and independence.
“This year, the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s nationwide campaign for Alzheimer Awareness Month is ‘The 72%,’ which represents the number of Canadian women affected by the disease. Our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, wives and friends represent the majority of those affected. Women also often step into the role of caregiver for those stricken with Alzheimer’s, which can double the magnitude of this disease on women.
“I would encourage all British Columbians to learn more about this disease, as well as the resources available to those impacted by Alzheimer’s. Early detection and supports can greatly improve the quality of life for those affected.
“The Alzheimer Society of B.C. has many resources, such as the First Link program, an early intervention service, which connects families to support groups and education, as well as other community and health-care services. In 2014, the Province provided $4 million to support this program, bringing the total provincial and Provincial Health Services Authority contribution to First Link to approximately $10.7 million since 2007.
“This weekend is the Investors Group Walk for Memories - dedicated to men and women who are bravely living with Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers. There are walk locations throughout B.C. and I will be participating in the walk in Kamloops. I encourage you to join.
“I commend the work of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. in educating British Columbians and supporting people with Alzheimer’s, as well as our world-class researchers who are dedicated to finding a cure.
“I would also like to recognize the caregivers and those who are courageously coping with Alzheimer’s disease. Your willingness to share your experience encourages more people to talk about this illness and lessen the isolation it can impose.”
To find the location of the Investors Group Walk for Memories in your community, please visit: www.walkformemories.com
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)