National dementia strategy provides opportunities to improve what we already do well

On June 17, the federal government launched Canada’s long-awaited dementia strategy, an initiative aimed at raising awareness of dementia, preventing the condition, finding a cure and improving quality of life for those living with cognitive impairment.

Naturally, OMNI Health Care, along with the long-term care sector at large, approves of this move, given the large-scale impact dementia has on our residents.

In fact, an estimated 70 per cent of people living in Canadian long-term care homes have some form of dementia.

Adding to this, seniors are the most vulnerable age group affected by dementia, and there are more Canadians today who are 65 and older than there are people 14 and younger.

The launch of Canada’s dementia strategy comes at a crucial time. With a growing number of Canadians expected to develop dementia in the coming years, it will be challenging for the long-term care sector to accommodate everyone affected by the neurodegenerative disease.

But having a national dementia strategy is positioning OMNI and other long-term care providers to be equipped to face this challenge.

The Alzheimer Society of Canada characterizes Canada’s national dementia strategy as “the single most powerful tool to improve dementia care and support.

“The strategy ensures that all Canadians living with dementia, their families and their caregivers have the same level of access, quality of care and services, regardless of where they live,” the organization states.

So, how does this impact people with dementia living in OMNI’s 18 long-term care homes?

Our team members bring a treasure trove of experience to the table improving the lives of people living with various forms of dementia. The national dementia strategy is not a magic bullet; rather it is a tool to bolster what we are already doing well: bringing a high quality of life to people with dementia living in our homes.

An important component of the strategy is to ramp up evidenced-based best practices and share these tried and proven methods for working with people who have dementia coast to coast. Everyone will benefit.

In short, having a national dementia strategy will help us do what we are already doing even better.