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The statistics regarding Alzheimer are frightening. With an aging population explosion the disease now affects 72% of women in Canada. One out of two North Americans over 85 years of age now suffers from dementia and there is no magic bullet to cure those who are diagnosed.

That is why Alzheimer’s disease which accounts for up to 75% of all patients has been called the plague of the 21st century. Like the previous Black Plague there is no cure or prevention to alleviate the pain that the patient and care givers can turn to when bad things happen to good people.

Alzheimer’s disease takes a vicious toll on women both in their role as the primary care givers and the fact that two-thirds of the patients are women.

Alzheimer’s disease has no biases effecting rich, poor, educated alike can be afflicted with the disease. My friend Peter who was Dean of the School of Journalism who was awarded the "Order of Canada" for his work slowly faded away when Alzheimer’s took hold of his mind. The brilliance that once was seemed to cloud over with time and unfortunately he passed away before the prime of his life.

There are no cures but it is believed that a healthy diet, exercise and sociability may help us to keep active and involved. Like a muscle the brain if not used can lose it’s ability to be involved with our health care. You know the phrase: "use it or lose it", but it takes a certain raison d’etre to not procrastinate to be proactive and choose to enjoy life.

The St Joseph’s Parkwood Institute in London Ontario has state of the art facilities that has Geriatric Trials and Alzheimer Research facilities to help with the diagnosis Check out their web site: www.sjhc.london.ca/specializedgeriatrics

After the sad diagnosis there is help in London to help patients and their care givers to try and cope with the dreaded disease. We are blessed that the McCormick Home has an Outreach program that is free of charge that has eight- week care givers education programs that are held four times a year. The next session begins Tuesday February 3 and runs to March 24. Please call to register 519 432-1057.

There is a popular adult day care program for Alzheimer patients as well as specialized respite and support services for care-givers and Alzheimer patients. Our neighbor’s mother looks forward to Friday’s where she is encouraged to dance and sing along at the McCormick Home. You can access their web site www.alzheimeroutreach.org

With the search for answers and professional care we in London and area are most fortunate that we have caring people who have taken the time to provide help.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com