Congratulations Canada! 150 years young and we are living longer than ever. Along with long life often comes disability and for many dementia is, in my opinion, the most threatening disease of today. Finally we have joined the ranks of the more progressive countries, those that are preparing themselves for what many have referred to as the ‘Silver Tsunami’, the tidal wave of long life. Canada is the 30th country (out of 194 World Health Organization members ) to now have a Dementia strategy. Bill C-233, An Act respecting a national strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias received Royal Assent on June 22, 2017 from the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
Alzheimers Canada defines dementia as ‘an overall term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Symptoms may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. A person with dementia may also experience changes in mood or behaviour. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse as more brain cells become damaged and eventually die. Dementia is not a specific disease.’ However many diseases can cause dementia and some of these conditions may be treatable.
Alzheimers is the most common form of dementia and the terms are frequently interchanged. This terrific short video describing the difference was provided on the Alzheimers website with material created by TCD, through the NEIL Programme at the Institute of Neuroscience.
What this dementia strategy will look like is still to be determined; however this is a tremendous step in the right direction. Congratulations Canada!