Dementia & associated diseases

An overview of Providence Health Care’s services and resources for adults living with dementia and associated diseases.


Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a general term that refers to a range of illnesses. These illnesses affect memory, thinking skills, physical movement and behaviour.

Most people with dementia have Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. Fewer people have dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) or frontotemporal dementia (FTD). There are other types of dementia that afflict smaller numbers of people.

Most people with dementia are over 65 years old. But younger people can be diagnosed with young-onset dementia.

Dementia is unpredictably progressive and can develop at different rates. It can be difficult to detect.


Diagnosis & testing

You or those close to you may notice subtle changes in your memory or thinking. These changes may cause you some concern and may precipitate a visit to your family doctor.

The diagnosis of dementia starts with your family doctor or qualified healthcare professional. It will often require many tests and visits with different health care providers. This is because there is no single test that can diagnose dementia.

A diagnosis is based on a complete picture of your current health, including:

  • A physical examination
  • Cognitive tests and the characteristic changes in thinking
  • Day-to-day function and behaviour associated with each type of dementia
  • Laboratory tests to help to rule out treatable conditions that mimic dementia

Your doctor may also ask someone who is close to you about your symptoms.

Treatment & management

There is no cure for dementia, but there are treatments that can help to slow or stall the progress of dementia.

Treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are available (such as cognitive enhancement). These treatments are prescribed by your family doctor if felt to be appropriate.

Treating underlying or contributing illnesses such as high-blood pressure is important. It can help slow the progress of vascular dementia.

A person can live well with dementia. Staying healthy and getting the right support can be helpful. As the illness progresses, it’s expected that more help will be required. Some people with dementia need a lot of help. Others may not need help for a long time after they find out they have dementia.

Clinics that treat dementia

Support services

Providence Health Care offers a variety of services to support those we care for. The following services may be of use or benefit to you and your families.

Support for Indigenous Peoples

The Indigenous Wellness Liaison Team is here to support your health journey. Team members offer cultural support and healthcare advocacy. Learn more below or call them at 604-682-2344,62937 or email

  • Indigenous wellness services

    The Indigenous Wellness Team at Providence is available to support Indigenous patients and their families. We are here to coordinate culturally safe wellness supports and services.

Clinical trials & research

Advances in condition treatments are all thanks to medical research. While participating in research is a decision you should make for yourself in consultation with your care team, there is much activity in this area so please ask us about our research programs if you’re interested.

By taking part in research, you can help us all learn more about condition and find better ways to help people like you live and thrive with the condition. While you cannot assume benefit to yourself, your participation can make a difference in improving care for future patients.

The following clinical trials are currently enrolling volunteers. Please ask your care team for more information or contact the research team listed on each study or trial. For other information about research at Providence Health Care, please visit Providence Research.

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