The Alzheimer Society of BC says the World Alzheimer Report 2011 released in September presents an opportunity for the provincial and federal governments to save money in the health budget and ensure better care is accessible for individuals living with dementia.
The report, by Alzheimer Disease International (ADI), indicates that research has shown early interventions are beneficial but that sadly very few people are getting an early diagnosis.
"Diagnosis is the first step to getting treatment and support, this report signals an opportunity to further work with the government and health partners to close the treatment gap," Jean Blake, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of BC, said in a press release.
"Without the diagnosis, persons with dementia and their families cannot access treatments and support that they need, so they're essentially going on the journey of this heartbreaking disease alone. We can't let that happen," she added.
The report suggests a "spend now to save later" solution based on figures that costs of early detection are more than likely offset by projected future savings. By closing the "treatment gap," the report suggests, governments could save up to $10,000 in health care costs for each individual living with dementia. Given the anticipated increase in prevalence of dementia, this could potentially yield billions of dollars in savings over the next several decades.
The report is based on independent research commissioned by the ADI that, for the first time, collated and reviewed all of the available evidence relating to early diagnosis and early treatment.