Canadian dementia strategy should start at the grassroots: DOC

‘A strategy like this can only benefit people, and it’s long overdue,’ says Lesley Dale

Burnbrae Gardens director of care (DOC) Lesley Dale says she’s applauding the Canadian government’s move to create a national dementia strategy, but adds that to make it successful engagement should start at the grassroots level.

This means involving family members in the process to gather information about their experiences and to hear their ideas, Dale says.

“I would hope that it starts right with the grassroots; with the families themselves with education and on up with the rest of the health-care system and other sectors of society, because (dementia) impacts everybody,” the DOC tells The OMNIway. “Then, we would have a better quality of life for those with dementia and also for those that . . . come through our doors.

“A strategy like this can only benefit people, and it’s long overdue,” she adds.

A national dementia strategy should also incorporate the best evidence-based practices being used in other jurisdictions. If other provinces have existing strategies that work, the national plan should harness those successes, Dale says.

“We need to take all the little pockets of success that we have here, there and everywhere, and fold them under one umbrella, because information is often hard to access and hard to understand when it’s in different places,” she adds.

Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose recently announced the government’s decision to develop a strategy. Canada is currently the only G7 country without a formalized dementia strategy.

That said, individual provinces have been stepping up to the plate to create programs to help enhance quality of life for Canadians living with dementia.

It is estimated that 747,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. The number is expected to double to 1.4 million by 2031.

Click here for more information about the dementia strategy.

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