Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and may contribute to 60–70% of cases.
In February 2015, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care released the Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care. An important part of this plan was improving access to dementia supports.
In September 2016, Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, issued a discussion paper titled Developing Ontario’s Dementia Strategy. Ontarians were invited to contribute their thoughts on how to better support people with Dementia and their care partners living in the Province.
The core vision of the Dementia care strategy was to make sure that all Ontarians with Dementia, along with their families and care partners are treated with respect, have the tools to make informed choices about their care and are living well.
In April 2017, the Government introduced the 2017 Ontario Budget which included $100 million over three years for the implementation of an Ontario Dementia Strategy!!
“It is estimated that Dementia affects over 220,000 people in Ontario and is estimated to rise to over 430,000 individuals by 2030. The Government should be commended for making Dementia a priority in Ontario.” said Lee Grunberg, President and CEO of Integracare Inc.
The key themes that are part of Ontario’s Dementia Strategy include:
- Increasing support for people living with Dementia and their care partners;
- Enhancing access to Dementia services;
- Improving the coordination of care;
- Continuing to invest in Health Care Provider education;
- Raising awareness about dementia risk factors and reducing stigma through public awareness campaigns.
Where can you turn if one of your family members or friends is suffering from Dementia?
The Alzheimer Society of Toronto provides free counselling and education to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of Dementia, their families and caregivers. They deliver specialized training and professional development for frontline health-care providers, and public education and awareness events to increase accessibility to Dementia information.
The Alzheimer Society of Toronto can also guide you to Home Health Care providers (both publically and privately funded), Respite Care Facilities, and/or Long-term Care Facilities that specialize in Dementia Care.
“Depending on the individual’s stage of Dementia, family support and resources, there are varying options of Dementia Care that will allow a person to have a joyful, meaningful and active life. The key is to find a Health Care Provider that is committed to providing the right care and loving environment for each individual.” added Mr. Grunberg.
In the very near future, we will all likely be directly or indirectly affected by Dementia. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to help raise awareness and provide support for people living with Dementia and their care partners.