Rising Tide: Summary

Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society summarizes the current and projected economic and social costs of dementia in Canada.  It also compares current policies and strategies in Canada and around the globe and makes a series of recommendations based on these best practices.

Rising Tide demonstrates that Canadians must call on their federal, provincial and local governments to rise to the challenge of the dementia epidemic by acting on these recommendations.

The findings of Rising Tide1

Health burden of dementia for Canada: 2008-2038²

  • Incidence of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias in Canada:
    • 2008 - 103,700 new cases per year (1 every 5 minutes)
    • 2038 - 257,800 new cases per year (1 every 2 minutes)
  • Prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias in Canada:
    • 2008 - 480,600 people with dementia (1.5% of Canada's population)
    • 2038 - 1,125,200 people with dementia (2.8% of Canada's population)
  • Hours of informal care provided annually for people with dementia in Canada
    • 2008 - 231 million hours
    • 2038 - 756 million hours

Economic consequences of dementia for Canada: 2008-2038²
The economic burden of dementia doubles every decade, increasing from $15 billion in 2008 to a startling $153 billion in 2038.

  • Economic burden of dementia (in future dollars)
    • 2008 - $15 billion
    • 2018 - $37 billion
    • 2028 - $75 billion
    • 2038 - $153 billion

Cumulative Consequences of Dementia over a 30-year period

Cumulative data represents the combined total of either the economic costs of dementia per year, or the number of people developing dementia per year, each year between 2008 and 2038. By 2038, the cumulative incidence of dementia will be more than 5.5 million people³, with a cumulative economic cost of $872 billion² (2008 dollars).

Implications – What can Canada do?

What Has Been Done Elsewhere

Across the globe, many countries are recognizing the urgent issue of dementia. Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Scotland and the United Kingdom have recently developed specific plans or frameworks for dealing with dementia.

Intervention Opportunities

Recognizing the urgent need to start turning the tide of dementia, Rising Tide describes four potential intervention scenarios, backed by current evidence that could become critical factors in reducing the impact of dementia.

The report tested the impact of four potential intervention scenarios:

  • Increasing Physical Activity
  • Delay Onset of Dementia
  • Caregiver Training, Support
  • System Navigation

All showed the potential for dramatic reductions in economic impact over the next 30 years.

Note: Rising Tide was undertaken in order to alert the Canadian public and federal, provincial and territorial politicians of the need for policies and approaches to address the looming dementia crisis. In the reports, you will find four suggested interventions. They are not meant to be definitive but to serve as illustrations of how the base case can be used to inform and shape policy in this field. The 5 recommendations in the report were developed through a comprehensive process of consultations with subject experts and stakeholders. The underlying message is that we must act now and that change is possible.


Rising Tide also makes five recommendations that would make up the components of a comprehensive National Dementia Strategy. They include:

  1. An accelerated investment in all areas of dementia research.
  2. A clear recognition of the important role played by informal caregivers.
  3. An increased recognition of the importance of prevention and early intervention.
  4. Greater integration of care and increased use of chronic disease prevention and management.
  5. A strengthening of Canada's dementia workforce.


  1. Rising Tide: Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society is a report based on a study conducted by RiskAnalytica, a leading firm in risk management. RiskAnalytica's Life at Risk® simulation platform was customized for the Rising Tide study based on the latest dementia and health economic research, validated for epidemiological and economic aspects by subject matter experts and checked for data, logic and results. The simulation platform was then run to establish the Base Case, or the findings.
  2. Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society. Alzheimer Society, 2009.
  3. Smetanin, P., Kobak, P., Briante, C., Stiff, D., Sherman, G., and Ahmad, S. Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia in Canada 2008 to 2038. RiskAnalytica, 2009

Last Updated: 11/08/2017