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Did you know that there are over half a million Canadians who are living with dementia? Moreover, this number is expected to grow to 937,000 by the year 2031, with an estimated 25,000 new cases diagnosed each year (1). With one in five Canadians having had experience caring for someone living with a form of dementia, the effects of dementia often go beyond the individual who has been diagnosed to affect family members, care givers and communities.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe any decline in brain function that can affect areas such as memory, language, focus, judgment, visual perception, and can interfere with daily functions.

It can be painful to watch your family members decline and lose their ability to function in their daily activities. Seeing them take longer to complete normal tasks, sensing their frustration and confusion at what’s happening, getting lost… symptoms of Alzheimer’s can affect the physical and emotional wellbeing of both the individual and their family and caregivers.

So what can be done?

Acupuncture, when paired with memory games and movement, can help to boost stimulation and blood flow to areas of the brain affected by memory loss. Inflammation, toxicity or genetically induced cellular abnormalities can impair blood flow to the brain, depriving the brain of necessary oxygen and nutrients. Body acupuncture treatment in combination with Zhu’s scalp acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, improve cerebral blood flow and increase glucose metabolism in the brain connected to cognition and memory.

To learn more about the treatment plan specific to your loved ones, you can book a 1-on-1 assessment appointment with our acupuncturists.

On the sidelines, Alzheimer’s also impacts the caregivers in the family who take on the responsibility for caring for loved ones. Depending on your experience, it could be a sudden onset with quick deterioration or a slow and long-drawn out process. Either way, it often leaves the caregiver in a position of embarrassment, loneliness, and isolation.

If you are caring for a family member with dementia, I encourage you to find time to take care of yourself by doing something you enjoy. While it may be hard to find this time, there are some Adult Day Programs for individuals living with dementia that can help provide you with some rest and alone time.

Your family member will also receive stimulation and social interaction in these settings. The Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto (AST) offers a list of organizations providing Adult Day Programs, support groups and workshops for caregivers, which is highly beneficial in helping caregivers understand and cope with the disease in their loved ones.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and are finding it difficult to manage and cope, check out the resources on the AST website for additional resources. If you would benefit from one- on-one support, book an appointment to meet with our psychotherapists. Free 15 min phone consultation appointments are currently available.

(1) Alzheimer Society of Canada (2018). Latest information and statistics. Website Link
(2) Alzheimer Society of Canada (2019). Dementia numbers in Canada. Website Link 

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