Ontario is launching consultations across the province to help develop a new dementia strategy, which will improve access to quality care for people living with dementia and boost support for those who care for them.
September 21 was World Alzheimer’s Day, and starting yesterday, the province is inviting Ontarians to share their views on the new strategy through an online survey and will hold in-person consultations this fall. Public input is being sought on key issues, including:
- Providing supports to help people with dementia live well
- Ensuring access to the right information and services at the right time
- Coordinating care between health care and other service providers
- Supporting care partners with their caregiving responsibilities
- Having a well-trained workforce to provide dementia care
- Raising awareness and reducing stigma about brain health and dementia.
There are approximately 228,000 people in Ontario currently living with dementia, with the number expected to grow as the population ages. To support the consultations, the province has released Developing Ontario’s Dementia Strategy: A Discussion Paper, which is based on feedback from health care providers, people living with dementia and care partners from across Ontario.
The development of a comprehensive dementia strategy builds on Ontario’s current investments in improving the lives of people living with dementia and their families. This includes $31 million to strengthen Alzheimer Society chapters across Ontario and $54 million in annual funding to Behavioural Supports Ontario, as well as support for the Finding Your Way initiative that helps people living with dementia live more safely in their community.
- Dementia describes a group of conditions that affect the brain and cause problems with memory, thinking, speaking or performing familiar tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.
- The dementia strategy public consultation will build on discussions Ontario has held over the last year with people living with dementia and care partners who shared their personal experiences, as well as health care professionals and other experts.
“Developing a comprehensive dementia strategy is a critical step in our government’s work to address the needs of an aging population, including Ontarians living with dementia and their care partners. Our government is committed to ensuring that the right supports are in place to help people with dementia while also making sure they are treated with dignity and respect.” – Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“Our government is committed to helping seniors stay active while living safely, and with better access to health care. A dementia strategy will ensure that the growing number of seniors with dementia will have access to the supports they need to maintain a good quality of life for them and their families.” – Dipika Damerla, Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs
“This report is a good foundation to start the in-depth discussion to plan change. People with dementia need to be first priority in this strategy. We look forward to being fully engaged with the Ontario government in the continuing development, implementation, and evaluation of Ontario’s Dementia Strategy.” – Mary Beth Wighton, Chairperson – Ontario Dementia Advisory Group (ODAG)
“The Alzheimer Society of Ontario welcomes the release of Developing Ontario’s Dementia Strategy. Virtually everyone in Ontario will be touched by dementia – our families, our workplaces and our communities. We commend the Minister’s leadership in opening up discussions on this important health issue. We look forward to working with him to ensure people with dementia and those caring for them have a say in how to create an Ontario where all people with dementia can live well.” – Chris Dennis, CEO, Alzheimer Society of Ontario