I have a 43-year-old teacher volunteering on my campaign for a national dementia plan because, astonishingly, Matt’s wife who is 45 is already in secure, long-term care with the illness (Frontotemporal dementia, FTD) . They have three children – 14, 12 and 10.
About 15 per cent of the 750,000 Canadians living with dementia are under 60 years old.
When you also realize that people with dementia have on average 3 or 4 caregivers, that means dementia is already directly affecting at least 3 million Canadians. Those numbers will quadruple in a generation.
Those big numbers may not mean as much to us as the people we actually know with the disease or acting as their caregiver – a family member, friend, neighbour or work colleague.
My private member’s bill for a national dementia plan (C-356) will be debated in the House of Commons late this year.
I urge you to contact your local MP Guy Lauzon this summer so they know voters in their riding back a national strategy and federal leadership working with provincial and municipal partners. This strategy will deliver research, early diagnosis and intervention, support for caregivers, workforce training for the workforce, and strengthening the integration of primary, home and community care.
I like to say Alzheimer’s and related dementia diseases are non-partisan. We will need non-partisan solutions.
I believe Members of Parliament from all parties should back a national dementia strategy but it will help their decision knowing voters in their ridings support this.
On my website you can find more information on my bill as well as a petition to print that, with a minimum of 25 signatures, your MP or I can present to Parliament this fall. (www.claudegravelle.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Canada is one of the few G8 countries without a national dementia strategy. Please contact your MP and together let’s change that.
Claude Gravelle MP
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