2015 Federal budget speaks to dementia
On April 21, the Government of Canada tabled the Federal budget. There are several areas of the budget which may be relevant to people with dementia and their caregivers. Specifically, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. was pleased to see reference to a commitment to developing a national dementia plan.
The budget noted that the government will continue to “work with provincial and territorial Health Ministers and stakeholders to develop a national dementia plan. As a first step, Ministers will bring research and best practices together and present them at the next Health Ministers Meeting.” In response to this development Mimi Lowi-Young, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada, issued the following statement:
“The Alzheimer Society commends the Government for its continued recognition and commitment to develop a national dementia plan. A national dementia plan is the only solution to integrate care and services to improve the quality of life for Canadians living with this disease and their caregivers, and reduce soaring costs to our economy and health-care system. A national dementia plan is pivotal to increasing investments in research to find prevention, better treatments and a cure, faster. Raising awareness and eliminating stigma is also central to the plan. In the coming weeks and months, the Alzheimer Society will work with all levels of government to make the plan a reality. Seven-hundred and forty-seven thousand Canadians, their caregivers and families are counting on us.”The budget also included a commitment to continue to support innovation in health care and dementia research: “Budget 2015 will provide up to $42 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, to Baycrest Health Sciences to support the establishment of the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation.”
The Alzheimer Society of B.C. was also heartened to note the changes to compassionate care benefits (part of employment insurance benefits), which enable caregivers to be with their family members at the end of life. Changes to compassionate care benefits means that benefits would be extended from six weeks to six months: this represents a total of $37 million dollars in additional benefits, starting in 2016.
“Caregiving is challenging emotionally, physically and psychologically. Increasing the compassionate care benefits to allow families to be together during the dying process is very important for all caregivers of people with terminal illnesses and will be welcomed by those caring for a person with dementia,” says Maria Howard, CEO, Alzheimer Society of B.C.Learn more about raising your voice to advocate for this important issue.