Manitoba unprepared for influx of dementia patients, report says

A new report says Manitoba is woefully unprepared to care for the expected influx of dementia patients as the population continues to age.

Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization (CanAge) is warning that aging Manitobans will likely overwhelm our health-care system even further in the coming years.

CanAge CEO Laura Tamblyn Watts told 680 CJOB’s The Start that there are 229,000 Manitobans over the age of 65, and the risk of dementia doubles at age 85.

The province, Tamblyn Watts said, is well behind on its dementia preparedness.

“We’re going to get to one in four people over the age of 65 in about 10 years, and we estimate that when it comes to dementia preparedness, we’re about 20 years behind where we need to be.

“This means we can no longer just look the other way and expect that dementia will somehow be taken care of by family and friends without the needed support.”

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The report also found less than half of Manitoba doctors feel equipped to diagnose the disease or provide care, something Tamblyn Watts said is unsurprising.

Read more: Manitoba government adds to support from Alzheimer Society for those living with dementia

“(Manitoba) doesn’t have even more than a handful of geriatricians and neurologists for the entire province. We have 10 times the number of pediatricians as we do geriatricians, and as everyone knows, our province is rapidly aging.

“We know that many kinds of dementia happen at least 10 years before a diagnosis. In Manitoba we’re not diagnosing early.”

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Manitoba is also ranked above the national average in some of the known risk factors for dementia, including adult obesity and smoking. The province also has a lower rate of physical activity than the national average.

The study shows it’s not only a Manitoba problem, however, most provinces are at 1 in 6 residents over the age of 65 already, with others venturing near 1 in 4.

Click to play video: 'Experts say Manitoba is unprepared for projected spike in Alzheimer’s cases'

Experts say Manitoba is unprepared for projected spike in Alzheimer’s cases

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