Today, 14,000 New Brunswickers have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Nationwide, the number is 747,000. This number will nearly double to 1.4 million in less than 20 years.

The Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick, in partnership with the University of New Brunswick College of Extended Learning, and Loch Lomond Villa, will be hosting a provincial conference designed for health care professionals who are on the frontline of dementia care in our province. Whose Reality is it anyway? How to Implement Person Centered Care: A Conference for Health Care Professionals will take place on March 19 at the Wu Centre in Fredericton.

“Caring for someone with dementia requires specialized training and skills,” says Shelley Shillington, director of operations, Loch Lomand Villa and presenter of the conference.

“We have heard from the frontline care staff loud and clear that there is an evident gap in our province in the availability of education directed to those front line caregivers caring for persons with dementia each day,” said Shillington.

This conference is a direct response to this gap.

The one-day conference offers an opportunity for all health care professionals who care for those affected by Alzheimer’s and related diseases to gain valuable information that will enhance their skills and knowledge in providing person centered care.

“We believe that each person with dementia is an individual, regardless of the stage of the disease, and as such, care should be individually tailored to their unique needs, interests, habits and desires,” says Chandra MacBean, executive director of the Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick.

“With the hands-on approach offered by our facilitator Shelley Shillington, this day of learning promises to offer tools on how to implement this person-centered approach with anyone impacted by dementia.”

For more information, contact the Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick at (506) 459-4280, 1-800-664-8411 toll free, or email info@alzheimernb.ca. Online registration is available at http://www.unb.ca/cel/intervention/alzheimers.html until March 18.

Conference seating is limited, so anyone interested should register early. Cost $120 plus HST per person and includes lunch and nutrition breaks. Snow date is March 20.

About the Alzheimer Society

The Alzheimer Society provides information, education and support throughout all stages of the disease, for those diagnosed, their family and those caring for someone with Dementia. The Alzheimer Society offers many programs and services, such as telephone and in-office support; five resource centers around the province where families can receive information and support and provides Caregiver Support Networks, Bilingual toll free 1-800 support line accessible throughout New Brunswick and education programs for families, as well as advocacy, awareness, and contribution to research.

About Dementia

Prevalence

  • After age 65, the risk of dementia doubles every five years.
  • While age is a major risk factor, dementia also occurs in people in their 40s and 50s. As of 2008: 
  • 71,000 Canadians aged 65 and younger had dementia, and in NB it’s 1,840 13%
  • 50,000 Canadians aged 50 and younger had dementia
  • Dementia can lie dormant in the brain up to 25 years before the first symptoms of appear.

Economic and social impact

  • Annual costs of dementia will increase from $33 billion today ($268 Million in NB), to $293 billion by 2040. (Cumulatively from 2008 to 2038, dementia will cost NB’ers $19.5 billion)
  • Family caregivers provide millions of unpaid hours caring for a spouse, parent or other family member:
  • In 2011, caregivers in Canada spent 444 million unpaid hours (5.7 million in NB), representing $11 billion in lost income and nearly 230,000 full-time jobs.
  • By 2040, caregivers will be spending 1.2 billion hours per year. (16 million in NB),
  • As the disease progresses, which could last between eight to 10 years or longer, those affected will require 24-hour care, exacting a huge toll on caregivers.
  • Many caregivers are forced to quit their jobs or develop health issues of their own such as stress and depression.

Media Contact: Belinda Elliott-Bielecki

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