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Councillor wants national dementia plan

Vernon City Councillor Catherine Lord has asked the City to support a motion aimed at getting a national dementia strategy in place.

Having been a caregiver of someone with dementia in the past, Lord mentioned the extreme stress placed on caregivers and the lack of any sort of national help or strategy in existence today.

“We want to see some sort of plan in place in dealing with this disease nationally,” said Lord at Monday's meeting.

Lord asked council to support Bill C-356, and recommended that the City of Vernon join a call to all levels of government and the Federation of Municipalities to adopt a national dementia strategy in response to national figures on the impacts of Alzheimer’s disease.

“It's devastating to the patient, particularly early in the diagnosis, but once the disease progresses, it makes virtual prisoners of the caregivers, particularly in a two-person family,” said Lord.

Alzheimer's disease and other dementias take a tremendous toll on hundreds of thousands of families and caregivers, and an estimated 3 million Canadians face challenges of providing care for those suffering.

“We need a strategy not just for the patients, but for the caregivers as well. This disease is becoming more prevalent as our population ages, and we need a plan to deal with this so that we all share in the caregiving and give some relief to the immediate family whose lives are greatly impacted,” added Lord.

The motion was supported by council and the City of Vernon will now join Lord in calling on all levels of government to adopt a national dementia strategy.

Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are progressive, degenerative diseases of the brain that cause thinking and memory to become seriously impaired.

The disease most often occurs in people over the age of 65 but can strike adults at any age. Currently, dementia affects more than 500,000 Canadians and this figure is projected to reach 1.1 million within a generation.

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