Currently, there are over 18,400 Manitobans who have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. 

That's from Alzheimer Society North Central Regional Coordinator Jennifer Harder. It's World Alzheimer's Month and Harder says the statistics will increase.

"They're saying by 2050, it's expected to reach over 39,000 people in Manitoba, Three out of five Manitobans have experienced dementia. They've been impacted by dementia through a close friend, or a family member -- somebody who's been diagnosed with it. 86 per cent of percent of Manitobans can identify memory loss as a symptom of dementia."

Harder explains there are side effects other than memory loss including confusion, disorientation, mood personality changes, and behaviours that are also symptoms of the disease. 

She outlines how people can recognize dementia first setting in. 

"That really depends on the person," says Harder. "Usually, what I hear is just forgetfulness, and most people, if I ask how long has this person been showing symptoms of dementia, they'll give me a timeframe," notes Harder. "Then they say, 'Well, looking back like over the last two years, I've noticed that there have been problems that just kind of progressively get worse.' They are things that they may attribute to normal age-related memory loss."

Harder says time will progress and the same problem becomes a little more serious. 

"It can be forgetfulness, forgetting words, appointments, details. Sometimes some of the earlier symptoms can be mood changes or personality changes. Somebody who was once very shy and introverted may be, all of a sudden, doing the opposite. They're going and talking to people in the grocery store, things like that. It's just very out of character."

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