New poll reveals Ontarians' top health concern

The poll asked 1,000 people about their biggest concerns as they get older

New poll reveals Ontarians' top health concern

According to a new online poll, 67% of Ontarians say dementia or cognitive decline is a top concern associated with aging.

Conducted by the Alzheimer Society of Ontario and CARP, a non-profit association representing more than 300,000 older Canadians, the poll asked 1,000 older people about their concerns as they age.

Respondents, who consisted of people with and without a connection to the condition, were also asked whether they feel there are adequate social and health-care resources in place to meet the needs of Ontarians living with dementia and their care partners.

97% of respondents said they feel it’s important for the government to invest in a provincial dementia strategy in order to tackle the increasing challenges faced by Ontarians with dementia. The survey showed that those currently impacted by dementia need more support. Less than 20% of respondents diagnosed with dementia, or caring for someone with the condition, felt they were getting the support they need.

It's an issue that needs to be tackled head-on. In just two years, more than 250,000 Ontarians will have some form of dementia, and while conditions like Alzheimer's disease are not a natural part of aging, the risk factor doubles every five years after 65.

"Based on these findings, it's clear that our CARP members and Ontarians in general view dementia as an urgent issue," said Laura Tamblyn Watts, National Director of Law, Policy and Research at CARP. "That's why we're committed to working with the provincial government, with our partners like the Alzheimer Society of Ontario, and with all Ontarians to ensure the dementia strategy is fully funded to address the needs of Ontarians impacted by this condition."

Access to services, care and support also ranked high among respondents' concerns, with over 99% saying it's important for people impacted to have help connecting to information, care and services. More than 99% think that adult day programs, in-home care and other respite options for care partners is important

"Our poll validates what we already know, that our province is not prepared to deal with the increasing impact of dementia on our friends, families and communities,” said says Lisa Salapatek, Chief Program Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. “These results will help inform investment into dementia care and supports in Ontario to help people with dementia and their care partners live the best quality of life possible. We need a dementia strategy that is sustainable for the long term."