Whether you’re writing a letter or speaking with elected officials or the media, it’s important to be prepared to talk about our priorities for a national dementia strategy, and the social and economic impact of dementia. Fact sheets are also helpful for preparing an info package.
National dementia strategy
Approximately half a million Canadians are affected by dementia. That’s 1 in every 11 over the age of 65.
The economic burden of dementia in Canada, now at $15 billion a year, will increase tenfold to $153 billion.
The dementia epidemic is not just a health concern; it’s everyone’s concern. This disease has the potential to overwhelm the health-care system if changes are not made in research funding and care delivery.
Canada has no plan to respond to this rising tide and its devastating impact. It lags behind other countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, France and the United States, who have or are developing plans to respond to the dementia crisis.
Provincial Dementia Strategy
The Alzheimer Society of P.E.I. is presently involved as a member on the Provincial Dementia Strategy Steering Committee. The Dementia Strategy is intended to ease the lives of individuals living with dementia and their caregivers as they journey along the continuum of care. The goal of the Dementia Strategy is to develop a clear direction for dementia related services and supports. Up to date there have been a number of meetings including a planning day focusing on creating goals, identifying priorities, and discussing timelines. The committee has received invaluable information from experts in dementia care across Canada, including Dr. Ken Rockwood, Dr. Janice Keefe, and Dr. Nick Kates.
We must take action now.
The Alzheimer Society is calling on Provincial and the Federal Governments to act now and develop a national response to the dementia crisis that would include five workable solutions:
- An accelerated investment in all areas of dementia research
- A clear recognition of the important role played by family caregivers
- An increased recognition of the importance of prevention and early intervention
- Greater integration of care and increased use of chronic disease prevention and management
- A strengthening of Canada’s dementia workforce
The Government of Canada must sponsor the development of a national dementia strategy that addresses the needs of Canadians affected by dementia.
Despite the lack of a national strategy Canada has valuable experience on which to build.
A national response can and should leverage the experience of provinces that have put measures in place (Ontario), provinces with imaginative new ideas (Quebec), as well as the experience from other jurisdictions facing similar challenges.
Canada must develop its national strategy in partnership with the Alzheimer Society, Canada's research community and federal/provincial/territorial governments.
Additional talking points
1. Canada is facing a rising tide of dementia:
- Every five minutes someone in Canada develops Alzheimer's disease or other dementia today; this figure will increase to one every two minutes within a generation.
- Currently, more than 500,000 Canadians are affected; this number will reach 1.1 million within a generation.
- Within the same period, the amount of time family and friends will spend caring for them will more than triple, from 231 million hours to 756 million hours per year.
- As our population ages, dementia will impact a greater percentage of Canadians.
- By 2038, the economic burden of dementia in Canada will increase tenfold, from $15 billion a year to $153 billion.
2. There is hope. Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society offers four possible interventions to lessen dementia's crippling effect on Canadian families, health care system and economy.
- The report offers four possible evidence-based scenarios to minimize the impact of dementia on Canada over the next 30 years.
- For example, delaying the onset of dementia by just two years has a potential cost savings of $219 billion over 30 years.
3. If we act now, we can stem the tide. Every Canadian has a role.
- Canadians need to learn about prevention and caring for their brain health, and about the importance of early diagnosis.
- Governments need to act. Other nations have taken proactive measures to mitigate the impact of dementia. Our federal and provincial governments need to do the same.
- Canada needs to invest significantly more into research, a critical piece for changing the course of these diseases.
Canadians need to learn about prevention and caring for their brain health, and about the importance of early diagnosis.
Alzheimer's disease Fact Sheet
Alzheimer Society Fact Sheet
Last Updated: 03/07/12