2007 marked our 30th Anniversary!
More than thirty years ago, the Alzheimer Society had its beginnings as a Steering Group of researchers concerned about the lack of support for people with Alzheimer's disease. Their focus on family support, education and research laid the foundation for an Alzheimer movement that has grown into a nationwide Society that helps hundreds of thousands of Canadians touched by dementia every year.
"Over the past three decades, the society has experienced tremendous growth," says Scott Dudgeon, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. "We continue to be the only nation wide group working in communities across the nation to improve the lives of people living with Alzheimer's or related diseases and their caregivers."
During its first decade, the society faced the enormous challenge of convincing people that dementia was an actual disease, and not just a normal part of aging. The society organized programs and services to dispel myths, and help caregivers and families learn more about the disease. Working toward even greater awareness, increased understanding and support for the disease, the society joined with the American Alzheimer's Association, as well as organizations in seven other countries, to be a founding member of Alzheimer's Disease International.
In the second decade, the Alzheimer Society Research Program was launched, offering young and upcoming researchers as well as established ones an opportunity to receive grants to further their work in hopes of finding a cure. Over 20 years, the program has awarded approximately $30 million to Alzheimer research. Canada has some of the top researchers in the world working in biomedical research into the causes and a cure for the disease. Canadian researchers are also working to improve quality of life, including caregiving, family support and long-term care.
Further advancements were made during our third decade as the public showed more and more understanding of the disease. Treatments became available to help alleviate symptoms, allowing people with the disease to become active members of their local societies. This trend has continued as more and more people with the disease became spokespeople and volunteers. The Society has appointed a person with dementia to its board of directors since 2003.
Looking ahead, we will be releasing new figures on the prevalence and economic impact of Alzheimer's and related diseases in Canada in January 2009 during our Alzheimer awareness month. These new figures will help strengthen the foundation for our advocacy campaign as we continue to engage the government like never before. We are on the brink of major change in policy, research, improvements to care, diagnosis, treatment and prevention and possibly finding a cure. Some of these new advances in research were presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease which took place in July 2008.
As we move forward, we continue to strive for excellence in our programs and services, research, education and awareness.
Last Updated: 08/09/12