Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects thousands of families in Toronto. If you are dealing with a loved one who has received this diagnosis or having to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, then you are far from being alone. In 2010, there were approximately 39,000 people in Toronto living with Alzheimer’s. By 2015, this number increased to 44,000 and this upward trend is expected to continue with expectations of 49,000 by 2020. Right now there is an average increase of Alzheimer’s disease of 1,000 people per year in Toronto. By 2030, the numbers are expected to increase by as much as 2,000 people per year.
Alzheimer’s is considered to be a serious public health and a quality of life issue in Toronto, as well as across the country. In 2011, there were 747,000 Canadians living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This is 14.9 percent of Canadians who are over the age of 65. By the year 2031, if nothing changes in the country, the number of people affected by this will increase to 1.4 million. Today, the indirect and direct cost of dementia is more than $33 billion per year. If this path continues, then the cost will reach $293 billion by the year 2040. One in every five Canadians over the age of 45 provides some type of care to seniors who are living with long-term health issues.
Alzheimer’s care can be in-home care that is provided by a specially trained individual, day care programs are specifically designed for seniors who suffer from these types of cognitive issues, or residential care in a community setting. These types of care communities can be freestanding, or that can be a part of a bigger nursing home area.
In any case, the focus needs to be on providing a comforting and familiar environment. The facility also needs to offer supervision that will help to prevent wandering and falls, as well as social activities that help to keep the senior residents engaged with what is going on around them. It is essential for Alzheimer’s patients to be watched and monitored throughout the day to ensure they receive plenty to drink and eat and provide assistance during meal time, if necessary.
The economic burden of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia affects everyone. This is an issue that is growing rapidly, due to several reasons. One is the fact that the population is growing and the second reason is that the baby boomer generation is starting to reach the age of 65. The year 2011 marked the first of the baby boomers to reach this age, which means the numbers are going to continue to increase through the year 2040.
Back in 2008, the economic burden of dementia in Canada was $15 billion. By the year 2038, it is estimated that this cost will reach approximately $153 billion. On an individual basis, the cost of nursing home care, in a private room is estimated to be $71.23 per day or $2,166 per month. While the cost goes down, slightly, for a semi-private room at $61.23 per day, it is still a cost that is hard to cover. In most cases, these are base rates, which means that features and amenities such as phone, cable television, and hairdressing services all cost more.
The cost of quality Alzheimer’s care and the amount of time that patients will be able to live with this disease result in many families receiving a rather large financial blow. They often have to spend their own savings to provide care for their loved ones. However, prior to choosing this option, there are others available.
One option is to purchase long-term care insurance or consider taking a reverse mortgage on the senior’s home. In some cases, selling the home, or other assets outright can also be beneficial. There are also a number of adult day care programs that can be utilized for care during the day when family members are at work and cannot provide care for their loved one. Exploring all the options that are available will help ensure the senior receives the care they need and that the family members do not suffer too much due to the financial burden it creates.
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