B.C. Ministry of Health co-hosts the 2020 Dementia-Friendly Legislature Luncheon
At the beginning of March 2020, Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from across B.C. were invited to a non-partisan luncheon co-hosted by the B.C. Ministry of Health and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. to talk about the importance of building inclusive communities that support people affected by dementia.
The Honourable Adrian Dix, B.C. Minister of Health, welcomed everyone to the event and then Maria Howard, CEO of the Alzheimer Society of B.C., congratulated the MLAs on having the first dementia-friendly legislature in Canada. B.C. Green Health spokesperson Sonia Furstenau emphasized that a dementia-friendly province is a friendly province – inclusive of all. Sharing his own connection to dementia, Official Opposition spokesperson Mike de Jong talked about the support that his family received from the Society after his father was diagnosed with dementia and how that support shaped their journey.
During the luncheon, guests heard from Ken Walker and his partner Mark Demers. Ken is a long-time volunteer with the Society, who facilitated support groups for caregivers before he himself was diagnosed with dementia. Since then, Ken has continued to stay active with the Society, joining the B.C. Leadership Group for People Living with Dementia and acting as a spokesperson during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in January 2020. He and Mark are keen advocates who apply what they’ve learned in their time as LGBTQ2+ activists to challenging stigma associated with dementia.
B.C.’s Legislature is the first in Canada to become dementia friendly, and we celebrate our elected representatives’ ongoing commitments to building on that by welcoming and highlighting the voices of people – like the Ken and Mark – who are affected by the disease. Thank you to all the speakers for sharing their stories.
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