Odds are one in three Canadians over the age of 65 will develop some form of dementia.
Ten million baby boomers will turn 65 in the next 20 years.
Today, about 750,000 Canadians live with some form of cognitive impairment. By 2031, about 1.4 million Canadian will be living with some degree of cognitive impairment.
And Canada is the only country in the industrialized world that has no national strategy yet for dealing with dementia.
That is frightening, unacceptable and unconscionable. It is not as if the tsunami of aging boomers is a surprise.
It does take a wealth of medical expertise, planning and funding to deal with the explosion that is expected in dementia.
We have been heading to this point for decades, just as demographers and health experts have been warning for decades that dementia poses a substantial threat to health care overall.
It really doesn’t take a brain surgeon to recognize that the longer we live, the more likely it is that our cognitive abilities will become impaired to one degree or another.
But it does take a wealth of medical expertise, planning and funding to deal with the explosion that is expected in dementia, the insidious condition that gradually breaks down the mind, eventually leaving one helpless, dependant and then, often mercifully, dead.
The scope of the challenge is enormous, as is the collective failure to plan for handling it. Granted, the Ontario government has undertaken some innovative work.