What a national dementia strategy means to Canadians living with dementia
“We need better, quality care that is timely and cost-effective. We need care that reflects the needs of people like me.”
My name is Jim Mann. Some people may look at me and think, “He doesn't have Alzheimer's disease.” If only that were true!
I’m in my mid 60s and have been living with this disease since 2007. It affects my daily life, especially my short-term memory. That’s why I no longer drive. I don’t use the stove unless my wife is around. And I only use bills when I pay for something because it’s often difficult for me to determine the value of coins.
I recently purchased a watch with both a clock face and digital time so I wouldn’t be confused by the numbers. Telling time is a common problem for people living with dementia.
And, I know I’m not alone.
Let's face it - the bubble of Baby Boomers has just begun. For many of us, dementia is the second most feared disease.
Without a plan to deal with the growing number of Canadians with dementia, we will all experience its impact.
Canada needs a national dementia strategy to better support those of us who have the disease already, and those who will develop it in the future.
We need better, quality care that is timely and cost-effective. We need care that reflects the needs of people like me.
I believe that a national dementia strategy would provide access to patient-centred care and ensure that it’s available throughout the full journey of the disease.
And what about family caregivers and other family members who are impacted? I don’t know what I would do without the care and support of my wife. A national dementia strategy would also support families with the resources they need and with better outcomes.
I also believe that a national dementia strategy is important in helping to increase understanding of the disease, reduce its stigma and inform people of how they can maintain their brain health.
Dementia is a scary disease. Even politicians don’t want to talk or hear about it. Well, now is the time to listen.
- Jim Mann