September 18, 2017 (Calgary) – The NDP are dragging their feet on a provincial dementia strategy, and it’s hurting people living with the disease and their families, says Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark.
“Last spring in the legislature, I asked Minister Hoffman to create a comprehensive provincial dementia strategy and to make dementia care a priority for her government. Days later, the minister promised that a strategy would be coming within a matter of weeks,” said Clark. “But here we are, three months later and the NDP haven’t made any progress.”
Clark said other provinces are far ahead of Alberta when it comes to dementia care.
“Ontario has made significant investments in dementia care and they have a detailed provincial strategy,” said Clark. “A few grants to community organizations isn’t enough. We need a comprehensive, long-term made-in-Alberta strategy that can be tracked over time.
“The NDP are great at news releases, but not so good at rolling out an actual plan.”
Clark said a provincial dementia strategy should include the following elements:
- Specific, measurable targets: clear financial commitment, including increased staff
- Supports for people living with dementia: diagnosis, medical services, home care, appropriate housing
- Access to coordinated services: 24/7 crisis care, care coordinators to help people living with dementia and their care partners
- Supports for care partners: respite care, practical skills training, workplace support
- Workforce: well trained, person-centered care, interdisciplinary teams
- Awareness and Education: access to information on symptoms, treatments, risks and public education to reduce stigma/isolation
“The numbers are sobering,” said Clark. “More than one in 10 Albertans will be diagnosed with dementia at some point in their lives, and the number of people with dementia in Alberta will only increase as our population ages.
“This should be a top priority for any government. Investing in dementia care will save money in the long run, while also improving quality of life.”
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