Federal health minister releases $50M dementia strategy

Prevention is the word of the day.

Health Minister Ginette Petipas Taylor, who has a mother suffering from dementia, happily announced a $ 50 million package for people suffering from dementia. The shot in the arm will focus on prevention, advancing therapies, and helping patients and caregivers over a five year period.

According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada defines dementia as a set of symptoms that include memory loss, difficulties with discerning challenges, problem-solving and possibly language complications. The biggest problem is that dementia is progressive.

The problem is not limited to one segment of society. The rates of dementia are higher for indigenous people in Canada and continues to rise at an alarming rate. They suspect a 4.6 percent increase by 2031. In Canada, 419,000 seniors suffer from some form of dementia with 78,600 new cases being diagnosed each year.

Part of the plan for in the document called; “A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire” is to:

1.       Finding ways to prevent these brain diseases

2.       Finding more effective treatments

3.       Improving services and home care for those living with dementia and their families.

30 other countries around the world have started tackling this challenge in the last few years, Canada is the last of the group of eight countries to do so.

Quotes

“What we heard from stakeholders across the country, including those living with dementia and caregivers, had a direct impact on the development of Canada’s first national dementia strategy. By working together with all orders of government and different sectors to implement this Strategy, we can advance prevention and treatment efforts, and improve the quality of life for those living with dementia as well as their families and caregivers.”

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“Helping seniors live healthy and active lives is a top priority for our government. With its focus on prevention and education, Canada’s first national dementia strategy will help improve the quality of life of seniors living with dementia and ensure that their family members and caregivers have access to the resources they need. Our government’s strengthened commitment to the New Horizons for Seniors Program also increases support for community-based projects that help seniors living with dementia as well as their families and caregivers.”

The Honourable Filomena Tassi
Minister of Seniors

“We are tremendously excited by the strategy and are grateful to the Minister of Health and to the Government of Canada for their continued commitment to addressing the growing health and social challenges of dementia. We must continue to work together to ensure that the strategy translates into real progress and measurable impact. The Alzheimer Society will continue to champion an implementation plan. We owe it to Canadians affected by dementia to implement the Strategy in a way that brings about positive changes in their lifetime.”

Pauline Tardif
Co-chair, Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia
Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer Society of Canada

“We thank the Government of Canada for leading the development of this strategy, which will play a key role in tackling the greatest health crisis of our time. This strategy, when effectively implemented, has the ability to make a real difference in the lives of Canadians living with dementia and their families and caregivers. It also reaffirms the need for an ongoing commitment to research that will lead to new and much needed innovative solutions that improve the ways in which we prevent, diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.”

Dr. William E Reichman
Co-chair, Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia
President and CEO, Baycrest

“I can think of no other disease that has such a profound effect on loss of function, loss of independence, and the need for care. I can think of no other disease so deeply dreaded by anyone who wants to age gracefully and with dignity.

I can think of no other disease that places such a heavy burden on families, communities, and societies. I can think of no other disease where innovation, including breakthrough discoveries to develop a cure, is so badly needed.”

Margaret Chan
Director General, World Health Organization
(Opening remarks at the First WHO Ministerial Conference on Global Action against dementia, 17 March 2015)