For enquiries regarding these statements and positions, please contact us at [email protected].
Advance requests for medical assistance in dying (MAiD) for people living with dementia
Last updated: June 1, 2022
Summary: The Alzheimer Society of Canada supports the right of people living with dementia to make an advance request for a medically assisted death.
Canada has created a legal framework for medical assistance in dying (MAiD), but certain elements of eligibility criteria and procedural safeguards remain unsettled. One of these elements is the framework for Advance Requests.
Under the current law, a person in the advanced stages of dementia will likely not be able to legally consent to MAiD. The ability to make an advance request would circumvent this problem. The Special Joint Parliamentary Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying (AMAD) has resumed its review of MAiD – including advance requests. The subject of MAiD is complex and there is a diversity of views within our community. As the public debate and the legal framework has evolved, so have the positions of the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
People living with dementia must have the same rights as other Canadians – including the right to a timely diagnosis; to participate in advance care planning; access to high-quality health and palliative care, and to make an advance request for a medically assisted death if that is their desire. Advance Requests represent one possible end-of-life treatment option within an advance care plan.
It is essential to include the views of people living with dementia in any change to legislation or policy – including decisions affecting their health and life. Respect for the basic rights, dignity and well-being of people living with dementia must be paramount, no matter the stage of their condition. People living with dementia should not be excluded from the rights extended to other Canadians because of a diagnosis. That includes access to end-of-life care and options for individualized support. The Alzheimer Society believes that people living with dementia should have personal autonomy in making decisions about their care – including the right to make an advance request for medical assistance in dying.
Cannabis and the treatment of dementia
Last updated: July 20, 2018
Summary: While there is ongoing promising research on the effects of cannabis, there is currently no evidence that cannabis is useful for the treatment or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
Limbic-predominant aged-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (LATE-NC)
Last updated: May 2, 2019
Summary: The discovery of LATE-NC speaks to the growing umbrella of different dementias and the complexity of these diseases. The Alzheimer Society is hopeful that these new findings will pave the way to new treatments that target different forms of dementia.
Meaningful engagement of people living with dementia
Last updated: August 17, 2018
Summary: The Alzheimer Society of Canada believes that people with dementia want to inform the work that directly impacts their quality of life and well-being.
The Society recognizes the right of people with dementia to be actively involved in the work of organizations that represent their interests and value their involvement.
Online self-assessments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
Last updated: May 26, 2014
Summary: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are complex diseases of the brain and qualified health care providers should be involved in diagnosing these conditions. People who are experiencing memory issues accompanied by difficulties in day-to-day activities and skills should contact their healthcare provider.
Race and dementia in Canada
Last updated: October 5, 2020
Summary: At the Alzheimer Society of Canada, we work to change the lives of those living with dementia. However, we need to do more to combat systemic oppression.
Use of antipsychotic medications to treat people living with dementia in long-term care homes
Last updated: June 7, 2017
Statement summary: The Alzheimer Society recommends that antipsychotics only be used as a last resort to treat behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, especially in older adults. The Society encourages health professionals in all settings to practice a person-centred approach to care for people living with dementia.