Newsletter – January 2010

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January 2010 Newsletter for Seniors on Vancouver Island
Two Articles This Month:

Alzheimer Society of British Columbia: A Rising Tide of Dementia in B.C.

Opinion Editoria – Ed Helfrich, BC Care Providers Association CEO, Jan 20, 2010:


A Rising Tide of Dementia in B.C.

Projected healthcare costs to reach $130.2 billion reveals new Alzheimer Society report

January 4, 2010 – A report released by the Alzheimer Society today to mark Alzheimer Awareness month reveals alarming new statistics about the projected economic and social costs of dementia in Canada. Here in British Columbia, findings from the national study indicate that if nothing changes over the next 30 years, the prevalence of dementia in the province will more than double from 2008 figures (almost 70,000) to an estimated 177,684 British Columbians living with the disease. The associated economic burden is projected over the next 30 years to reach a cumulative total of over $130.2 billion. “These findings are a reality check because the fact is that our baby boomer generation is aging and the incidence of dementia is increasing,” said Jean Blake, CEO for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. “The impact will be felt by everyone, not only the cost to the healthcare system but the economic and social costs to caregivers and families so we need to work together to turn the tide.”

The Rising Tide study is the final report of an Alzheimer Society initiative funded by Pfizer Canada, Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Rx&D.

Other findings from Rising Tide:

The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society and Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on British Columbia 2008 – 2038:

In 2038, if nothing changes,

  • 1,125,184 Canadians will be living with dementia, among them will be, 177,684 British Columbians
  • The projected number of new cases of dementia for those in British Columbia aged 65 years and older is expected to reach over 35,770 (2.4 times the 2008 estimate)
  • Approximately 61% of people with dementia in British Columbia will be female
  • Family members in B.C. will be providing an estimated 118.7 million hours per year of unpaid care

“Today, someone in Canada develops dementia every five minutes. In 30 years, there will be one new case every two minutes,” says David Harvey, Principal Spokesperson for the Rising Tide project.

Recognizing the urgent need to start turning the tide of dementia, the goal of the project was to establish an evidence-based foundation upon which policymakers can build a comprehensive national plan. In addition, the new report also outlines a series of potential scenarios that could help minimize the impact of the disease. These intervention scenarios include physical activity programs to reduce the numbers of new and prevalent cases of dementia, prevention programs to delay the onset of dementia, informal caregiver support programs and system navigation to reduce the numbers of dementia patents residing in long-term care facilities.

Please visit to read the executive summary of Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on British Columbia 2008 – 2038, as well as the national study, Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society.

#300 – 828 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1E2
TEL: 604-681-6530 FAX: 604-669-6907 TOLL FREE: 1-800-667-3742

About Rising Tide

The Rising Tide project looks at the social and economic impact of dementia in Canada in 30 years if nothing is done now, as well as, the possible effects of intervention scenarios to help turn the tide of dementia. The national study also provides province-specific findings, and the Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on British Columbia 2008 – 2038 is the document that reflects that focus. To download a copy of the B.C. report, please visit

The national study was conducted in conjunction with RiskAnalytica, a leading firm in risk management.

The data in Rising Tide was determined through RiskAnalytica’s specialized Life at Risk® evaluation framework, combined with the Alzheimer Society’s extensive network of leading researchers and clinicians. To download a copy of Rising Tide please visit

The 2010 Awareness Campaign was made possible in part through the generosity of the following sponsors: Pfizer Canada, Transcontinental Media, Medicine Shoppe Canada, Genworth Financial Canada, Lundbeck, Janssen-Ortho Inc., and Burnbrae Farms.

About the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

As the provincial source for support and education of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia and the voice for change in the delivery of dementia care in the province, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. provides support services, information and education, advocacy, and research funding for Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow… To learn more about the Alzheimer Society of B.C., go to



Opinion Editorial – Ed Helfrich, BC Care Providers Association CEO,
January 20, 2010
“Silver Tsunami No Longer in the Forecast – the Grey Wave is Here”

There has been a lot of ink spilled in the last decade about the various challenges our society faces with an aging population and the looming “silver tsunami”.

As we turn the corner into a new decade it is time for all of us to understand that the wave has arrived. Three comprehensive reports in the last month have reaffirmed that the future tense of this discussion is becoming more out of date each day.

This month’s report from the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada (ASC) predicted the number of Canadians living with the disease and other forms of dementia will more than double in our generation to 1.1 million. To accommodate demand, the number of long term care beds in Canada will need to increase by over 140% – from 280,000 today to 690,000 by 2038.

Prior to the ASC study, the BC Ombudsperson released her first report on the investigation she has led into our seniors’ care system over the past year. In addition to providing a thorough overview of the complex nature of residential care, Kim Carter included a list of 10 recommendations focussed on the rights of seniors and improved access to information. At the same time, she indicated that her office had never seen a response to an issue like they have on seniors’ care.

The Ombudsperson’s findings confirm that without increased transparency, families will remain in the dark on some of the most important decisions they will have to make in their lives. Why shouldn’t seniors and their loved ones be empowered with the basic facts about our how our residential care system operates?

The Ombudsperson’s list of 10 recommendations was preceded by 10 more ideas the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) provided to Health Minister Kevin Falcon before Christmas. This report identified a crisis in seniors care and focussed on ways to make the system safer, more efficiency and sustainable (available at

The BCCPA report identifies achievable measures that support the Ombudsperson’s focus on transparency and recommends a series of constructive ideas to renew the seniors’ care partnership in BC, including:


  • quickly apply new revenue to increased staffing & front-line residential care services
  • establish ongoing consultation mechanism with care providers to & attack inefficient practices & develop solutions to emerging cost pressures
  • fill empty residential care beds with long stay seniors waiting in acute care hospital wards
  • increase emphasis on home support services
  • create more training opportunities for new care aides & LPNs in BC
  • finalize a single & fair administrative contract for BC care providers

The BCCPA report also challenge the status quo by questioning the practice of health authorities awarding themselves care contracts at higher rates without public tender.

This arrangement is not in the best interest of taxpayers or seniors and has resulted in unequal standards of care from one community to the next. According to the Ombudsperson’s report, some care facilities are receiving as little as $95/day to deliver complex seniors care while others are receiving up to $260/day.

These three reports have sounded the alarm. Now governments have to demonstrate that they understand that the challenges of our aging society are no longer arriving at the feet of future leaders. They are knocking on the door today.

Failure to take action and make strategic investments will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more in the long run and place a crippling financial and personal burden on families.

While the scale of this challenge can be deflating, there is hope and these recent reports have identified some real solutions. In BC, our new Health Minister has demonstrated a renewed interest in listening to care providers and getting ahead of the grey wave.

But provincial efforts will not be enough. National leadership is required and all federal parties should expand their focus to the immediate challenges of our aging society – including our new federal Minister for Seniors.

A country that had the wisdom to invent our cherished national public health system can surely marshal the will and wise judgement to make sure it survives the silver tsunami landing at our door.

The BCCPA has been representing BC care providers for over 30 years. In addition to employing over 7,000 people, BCCPA members care for over 10,000 seniors each day in residential care facilities and an addition 4,000 each year through home support.