The Ontario Dementia document uses the prevalence data obtained from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (1994), and the latest population projections from the Ontario Ministry of Finance (“Ontario Population to calculate the projected number of cases of dementia, for each year between 2010 and 2036, for the counties and regions (Eastern, South Western, North Eastern, North Western, Central, and the Greater Toronto Area) of Ontario. It should also be noted that these rates are for dementia in general and not Alzheimer’s disease in particular.
The year 2011 is of particular interest since it is the year that the first of the “baby boomers” reach 65. After that and until about 2040, figures will continue to rise substantially. Since age is the most significant and easily identifiable risk factor for dementia, these projections are simply the product of observed dementia rates (prevalence) and population values; no other factors are used in their calculation. The population projections are for both males and females.
There are two major consequences of these data for the Province of Ontario. First, the elderly portion of the population (i.e. those aged 65 and over) will continue to increase greatly in the near future, by 19% (over 2010 levels) in 2015, over 41% by 2020, and 125% by 2036. This will lead to a great increase in all age related medical disorders, and an increased need for other social and recreational services for the healthy elderly.
Second, the prevalence of dementia is also increasing rapidly. By 2015 the number of cases will increase by nearly 18% over 2010 levels. By 2020 the increase will be nearly 37%, and by 2036 that increase will be nearly 156%. That means that we will be caring for over 214,000 cases in 2015 compared to about 181,000 at present (2010), and by 2036 there will be over 466,000 cases in the province.
These problems will be especially difficult for those municipalities across the province that have grown very rapidly in recent years, such as the Greater Toronto Area (especially the “905 area”). For example, while some rural counties such as Timiskaming will only show a dementia case increase of 101% by 2036, regions such as York will experience almost a 280% increase. These huge increases will put significant strains on their local health care facilities, especially if effective planning is not started immediately.