Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario


World Alzheimer’s Day: Nurses Stand with You

Sept. 21 marks World Alzheimer’s Day. Today and the month of September are dedicated to fighting the stigmas surrounding dementia and eliminating treatment inequalities. Nurses stand with persons living with dementia and their loved ones.

If you have been diagnosed or know someone living with dementia, you are not alone. Globally, 50 million people live with dementia and more than 432,000 Canadians aged 65 and older live with diagnosed dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, 35 per cent of caregivers across the world said that they have hidden the diagnosis of dementia of a family member due to stigma fears. Getting to know dementia can help demystify the condition.

People living with dementia are capable of living productive and fulfilling lives. Knowing the 10 early warning signs is crucial, as an early diagnosis from a health-care professional can help improve quality of life.

These signs include:

1.    Memory loss that affects day-to-day abilities
2.    Difficulty performing familiar tasks
3.    Problems with language
4.    Confusion with regard to time and place
5.    Poor and decreased judgement
6.    Problems with abstract thinking
7.    Misplacing things
8.    Changes in mood and behaviour
9.    Changes in personality
10.    Loss of initiative 

RNAO is committed to helping improve the quality of care for those living with dementia. In 2016, RNAO released the best practice guideline (BPG), Delirium, Dementia, and Depression in Older Adults: Assessment in Care, Second Edition. This BPG is used by nurses and other members of the interprofessional health-care team to enhance the quality of their practice pertaining to delirium, dementia, and depression in older adults, ultimately optimizing clinical outcomes through the use of evidence-based practices.

If you are living with dementia or are caring for someone with the condition, help is available. To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and find resources and support, visit: 

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