Reflecting on Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Reflecting on Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
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Roughly 750,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association of Canada. Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that causes thinking, memory and behavioral skills to worsen over time.
January marks Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. It’s a good opportunity to highlight the symptoms of dementia, what do if you are diagnosed with it, and relevant Nisga’a Valley Health Authority supports and services.
Generally, the risk of developing dementia rises with age. If Alzheimer’s runs in your family, you’re likelier to get it too. Regular exercise, avoiding smoking, excess alcohol, and a healthy diet may reduce your risk of developing the disorder. While there isn’t a cure for dementia yet, doctors are working very hard to find one.
Early symptoms of dementia include difficulty recalling recent events, trouble speaking, writing, and completing basic tasks.  People with late-stage Alzheimer’s also become short tempered, have problem sleeping, hallucinate and become disorientated.
Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. It’s important to note that many treatable health conditions –including depression and thyroid issues — can also cause memory and cognitive problems. If you are diagnosed with dementia, your doctor may prescribe you medication that helps you manage the condition.
Steps to Take After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis 
So, what should you do if you’re diagnosed with dementia?
First, create a support plan for when you can no longer live independently. If you have loved ones who are able to take you to appointments and support you at home this can be very helpful. Moreover, ask a trusted family member to make health care decisions for you when you no longer can. Ask a health care professional to look over and provide feedback on the plan.
Secondly, get your driving skills evaluated. If you decide to keep driving, get your driving skills reevaluated every six months.
Finally, get your finances in order and write your will. Information on how to write one is available on Canada Life’s website at
Our dedicated team of health care staff can also support people with Alzheimer’s in their home. Our home care staff can monitor and help manage their condition, do light chores for them and help them bathe. To request this service, please call our Home and Community Care main phoneline at 250-633-5025.
Our Occupational Therapist can also help make their home safer and easier to navigate. If you’d like to see our OT, please talk to your doctor.