Sunday December 06, 2015

'Dementia is not an individual's disease, it's something that can tear families apart'

Dementia not only impacts those living with the illness, but also has a serious impact on their family caregivers.

Dementia not only impacts those living with the illness, but also has a serious impact on their family caregivers. (Robert Agthe/Flickr)

Listen 9:31

Dementia is a syndrome that affects memory, cognition and behaviour. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. In Canada, there are more than 747,000 Canadians living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. This number is expected to increase to 1.4 million by 2031.

Dementia not only impacts those living with the illness, but also has a serious impact on their family caregivers. Up to 75 per cent of family members caring for someone with dementia will develop a psychological disease.

Spark goes to DementiaHack, a hacakthon with a goal to come up with tools and technologies that can be of practical benefit to people with dementia and their caregivers.

Organizers Shaharris Beh (HackerNest) and Jordan Banks (Facebook Canada) talk about the importance of this hackathon.

The Grand Prize-winning team created an app that connects people living with dementia with their caregivers.


Sylvia Davidson is the Professional Practice Chief for Occupational Therapy at Baycrest Health Sciences. Below, Sylvia explains the barriers to adoption of new tech for people with dementia, and offers strategies for overcoming them.