Nearly three-quarters of Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. It’s an eye-opening statistic, but it’s not news to the many Oak Bay families whose lives have been altered by dementia, many of whom will participate at the Investors Group Walk for Memories this Sunday.
“Women represent 72 per cent of Canadians living with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Meriel Randerson, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s support and education co-ordinator for Greater Victoria.
“They could be your mothers, wives, sisters, grandmothers or friends.”
That’s why the society’s annual Alzheimer Awareness Month campaign in January has adopted the theme The 72%. It aims to inform women in their 40s and older about the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, brain health and how the programs and services of the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C. can help. More women than men are living with Alzheimer’s disease because they live longer and age is a significant risk factor, Randerson says. The risk of dementia doubles every five years after age 65.
Women also account for 70 per cent of family caregivers.
“The disease takes a tremendous toll on these women who eventually provide round-the-clock care. The burden is especially high for women raising families and holding down jobs,” said Randerson.
Though women are disproportionately affected, she points out “Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias affect everyone.”
So what can Oak Bay residents do? “Get walking,” she says.
Residents can take a meaningful stroll on Sunday when the annual Investors Group Walk for Memories comes to Victoria, to raise funds for research and programs for the more than 70,000 people in B.C. who face dementia.
“This fun-filled event is a great way to support families in our community who are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,” said Randerson. “Funds raised help ensure people with dementia and their caregivers have access to information, support services and education. They also bring us one step closer to finding a cure.”
Participants can still register to participate in the Walk for Memories, which starts at 10 a.m. To register or donate, visit www.walkformemories.com. Registration will also take place at 9 a.m. on Jan. 25 before the walk at Robert Bateman Centre, 470 Belleville St.