The Canadian National Dementia Strategy

Last week we presented an infographic to show you the impact of dementia on Canada. Thankfully,  on June 22, 2017, Bill C-233 received Royal Assent and became law in Canada. This law, “An Act respecting a national strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias” mandates that all provinces and territories across Canada work together to develop and implement a national dementia strategy that addresses 7 key areas. By mandating the implementation of this national dementia strategy, Canada has ensured that something actually gets done to support all people affected by dementia.

The seven key areas that must be addressed include:

  1. Develop national objectives to decreased suffering and reduce the burden of dementia on society;
  2. Encourage investment in all areas of research related to dementia;
  3. Working with other countries to combat dementia (because dementia is a global pandemic);
  4. Nation-wide development and dissemination of diagnostic and treatment best practices;
  5. Nation-wide dissemination of best practices on how to improve quality of life for people living with dementia and their caregivers achieved through care integration, chronic disease prevention and management, community services, and family supports;
  6. Supporting the development and dissemination of information on prevention, management, and early treatment; and
  7. Create recommendations and guidelines for best practices in care delivery and daily programming.

And it doesn’t stop there. By June 2019, and every year after that, the Minister of Health must give a report on how the National Dementia Strategy is doing along with any new recommendations.

Dementia pandemic

So what does all this mean to you?

It means that you and your family will be receiving better care and support. It means that we will start coordinating with other countries who are leading the way in dementia care (such as the Netherlands), and learn from how they have successfully, and not so successfully, supported their citizens who are affected by dementia. It means that we should be able to reduce the currently projected cost of dementia in dollars, but also in its cost to productivity and personal stress.

It means that Canada isn’t ignoring you. It means that Canada has realized that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias cause a lot of pain and suffering. It means that Canada believes you shouldn’t go it alone.

With projections estimating a rapid increase in the number of people living with dementia and subsequent cost to Canadian society, it is imperative we launch a coordinated attack. In the end, this National Dementia Strategy will improve the quality of life of everyone affected by the disease.

Next steps: Funding. It’s all fine and dandy to design a fantastic dementia strategy, but we need funds to put it in place. However, the strategy isn’t finalized yet, so until then, we won’t know how much money we’ll need to implement it. Until then…