The provincial government has announced a new initiative aimed at making life better for dementia patients and their families.
And with thousands of Albertans, including many in rural communities, living with dementia these days, this new effort is both needed and welcome.
The Alberta Dementia Strategy and Action Plan calls for improvements to help Alberta families, including increased rural specialist consultations, improved mental health supports and better transitions for patients moving between different care settings.
The initiative focuses on four outcomes:
• That Albertans living with dementia and their caregivers are supported in their communities.
• Timely recognition, diagnosis and clinical management through primary health care, supported by specialist services.
• Timely, accessible, integrated and high-quality dementia care and services.
• That Albertans understand the impact of dementia and actively work towards optimal brain health.
Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services calls the new strategy a good move forward.
“We understand the importance of supporting dementia-focused initiatives and we are seeing positive results that will benefit the lives of those living with dementia and their caregivers,” said Yiu.
“We are pleased to have a strategy to guide us forward together in planning for our aging population and their needs.”
The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and the Northwest Territories is one of the groups that have come out in support of the strategy.
There are more than 40,000 Albertans currently living with dementia, and that number is expected to top 150,000 within the next 30 years.
Impacting the quality of life of patients and in some cases placing great burdens on family members, there is no question that dementia is one of the most significant social and health-care issues facing Alberta and indeed all of Canada.
“This plan offers a targeted and strategic approach that will lead to quality care, better brain health and stronger community supports for years to come,” said Sarah Hoffman, minister of health.
This new Dementia Strategy and Action Plan is good news for Alberta.
Dan Singleton is the Mountain View Gazette editor.