LTC sector’s knowledge and expertise would be crucial to a dementia strategy: Lowi-Young

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Sector’s strengths could help policy-makers translate knowledge into plans to ensure seamless care and support

Long-term care homes have expertise delivering care and supports to people living in the late stages of dementia and their families, and this knowledge could pave the way for a leadership role in a Canadian dementia strategy, says Alzheimer Society of Canada CEO Mimi Lowi-Young.

Alzheimer Society of Canada CEO Mimi Lowi-Young

Alzheimer Society of Canada CEO Mimi Lowi-Young

This expertise would help policy-makers translate knowledge into plans to ensure seamless care and support is provided to people living with dementia and their families, she adds.

“I believe that the idea of integrating care and making sure the transitions for an individual and their family work effectively and is in the best interest of people (is crucial),” Lowi-Young tells The OMNIway.

There are more Canadians today who are 65 and older than there are people 14 and younger. Age is the No. 1 risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which affects an estimated 747,000 Canadians. Experts say Canada can expect to see that number double to 1.4 million by 2031.

Canada and Germany are the only G7 countries that do not have a national dementia strategy. France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and the United States all have national dementia strategies.

There has been a push from the Alzheimer Society, the long-term care sector, researchers and politicians for the federal government to adopt a nationwide strategy to address the growing number of Canadians affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

In order to ensure the foundation of a national dementia strategy is strong, the Alzheimer Society of Canada has proposed the formation of the Canadian Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Partnership (CADDP).

The CADDP would need to be a collaboration of representatives from provincial governments; the Alzheimer Society of Canada and its provincial agencies; researchers; clinicians and people living with dementia and their families, Lowi-Young says.

Lowi-Young says Canadian Alzheimer societies are working well with the long-term care sector when it comes to providing education to nurses and personal support workers (PSWs). The tools, techniques and interventions long-term care providers and Alzheimer societies have garnered to enhance quality of life for people living with dementia would be a major advantage to a sustainable national dementia strategy, she adds.

“I have tremendous respect for the long-term care homes and associations who are really trying to deliver the best quality care to individuals with dementia, and I think if we work collaboratively and in an integrated way, we really can prepare for the future,” she says.

“And the time is now to take action … because we will have an aging population whose growing needs we will need to address.”

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