CIHR: Breaking the stigma, finding solutions, caring for people
Sep. 21, 2018
A message from Dr. Yves Joanette for World Alzheimer’s Day 2018
I am pleased to mark World Alzheimer’s Day, an awareness day held annually on September 21.
This international campaign, led by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) aims to raise awareness and challenge the stigma surrounding dementia. This year, ADI published the World Alzheimer Report, which provides an overview of the state of research, exploring the progress being made and identifying promising new directions.
What the report makes clear is the need for more research to break through the barriers to understanding this disease and paving the way for better diagnostics, preventative therapies, and effective treatments.
Dementia is caused by a host of neurogenerative diseases, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common. More than 400,000 Canadians aged 65 and over are among the 50 million people estimated to be living with dementia worldwide. As this year’s campaign declares, someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds.
At CIHR, we are well aware of Canada’s demographic shift and the global rise in dementia. That’s why we established the CIHR Dementia Research Strategy to support collaborative research and international partnerships. The strategy takes a balanced approach, focusing on prevention, treatment, and quality of life.
While we are advancing research to find ways to prevent and treat the disease, we are also supporting research that focuses on the care of Canadians with dementia and support for their families. As part of our work on quality of life, we are in investing in research projects that combat stigma and promote the social inclusion of people living with dementia and caregivers. This includes two projects involving Indigenous communities where the rate of dementia is higher than in the non-Indigenous population. I applaud ADI and other organizations worldwide that are working to address the stigma of dementia.
Canada is definitely moving forward in addressing this challenge as the federal government is engaged in the planning of a National Dementia Strategy. All stakeholders are contributing as shown by the inspiring publication of the first Canadian Charter of Rights for People with Dementia by the Alzheimer Society of Canada and its Advisory Group of people living with dementia earlier this month. The Charter is an important step towards recognizing the rights and expectations of those living with dementia and their caregivers. I encourage everyone to learn more about the Charter and to consider what role they can play in supporting people with dementia.
September is World Alzheimer’s month, but working together and facing the challenge of dementia should be with us every day of the year.
Dr. Yves Joanette
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Aging