Addressing dementia as a nation
More than 1 million Canadians have some sort of connection to dementia, and we count ourselves among them.
In addition to our lived experience, we have been privileged to learn about the experiences of others who are living with the numerous challenges of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias—in growing numbers.
We need to address dementia as a nation, and the June 2019 release of Canada's first-ever national dementia strategy, A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire, is a significant step in the right direction. The strategy follows years of advocacy on behalf of the Alzheimer Society of Canada and the input of key stakeholders, including people with lived experience, partners in the dementia and healthcare communities, and members of the Minister of Health's Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia.
The vision for the national dementia strategy is "a Canada in which all people living with dementia and caregivers are valued and supported, quality of life is optimized, and dementia is prevented, well understood, and effectively treated." The strategy's three national objectives are to prevent dementia, advance therapies and find a cure, and improve the quality of life of people living with dementia and of their caregivers.
The federal government has committed $20 million over five years for community-based projects that support the challenges of living with dementia, and $50 million over five years for initiatives promoting risk reduction, prevention and combatting stigma. Implementing the broad and significant objectives of the national dementia strategy will require further and sustainable investment if we are to achieve its vision.
Another important achievement in the past year was the launch of the Canadian Charter of Rights for People with Dementia—another first. The Charter was created by the Alzheimer Society of Canada's Advisory Group of People with Dementia to empower Canadians with dementia to self-advocate while also ensuring that those who support them understand and protect their rights. We encourage you to learn about the seven rights outlined in the Charter on page 7 and at alzheimer.ca/Charter, and to share them with those you care about.
In the pages that follow, we highlight some of the amazing work of our nation's talented researchers funded by the Alzheimer Society Research Program and supported by the incredible generosity of our donors. We also profile Canadians who are living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias whose experiences help us all understand.
At the Alzheimer Society of Canada, we will continue to shine a light on the many ways that dementia impacts our daily lives, and to listen to the stories of people living with this disease.
It is essential that every one of us continues to speak up—for ourselves and for those we love.
Pauline Tardif, CEO
Ian Rea, Chair, Board of Directors