Advocacy Efforts in Ontario
The Alzheimer Society of Ontario amplifies the voices of all Ontarians impacted by dementia, seeking to bring about policy change to create a more dementia-friendly province.
Supporting Ontario Families Living with Dementia
The Alzheimer Society of Ontario represents the interests of all Ontarians living with, or impacted by, dementia. With 29 local Alzheimer Societies providing direct support to families across the province, we are an integral part of Ontario's frontline healthcare system.
Every day, we hear from people living with dementia, care partners, and families about the challenges they face. Thanks to the support of community advocates, new investments have been made in Ontario dementia care, including more frontline First Link®️ Care Navigators.
We have made progress, but now is not the time to step back. There is still more work to be done.
Targeted Investments for Smarter Health and Long-Term Care
Over 240,000 Ontarians live with dementia—a number that will continue to rise as our population ages. With proper community supports, people with dementia are able to continue living at home, but these supports aren't always available and often have lengthy waitlists stretching past four to six months. This places unfair emotional, physical, and financial stress on care partners who burn out and reach a crisis point. When this happens, many have no place to turn other than a hospital or long-term care facility.
The Alzheimer Society has four recommendations to break this cycle, and help build a dementia care system that works:
- Invest an additional $1.55 million in First Link® Care Navigation for a total investment of $4.76 million, supporting 5,000 more people living with dementia and care partners.
- Create a dedicated funding stream for dementia-specific respite services, including a targeted stream to improve access where demand for services surpasses availability.
- Fully implement recommendation 21 of the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-Term Care Homes System.
- Dedicate $4 million to providing the Alzheimer Society’s U-First!® training in long-term care facilities across the province.
Care Partners are not Visitors
Make your voice heard. Overly restricted access for care partners cannot be part of the “new normal” in long-term care.
Click here to read our position statement, Care Partners are not Visitors: Access to Long-Term Care in the “New Normal”.
Care partners are essential to the health and wellbeing of long-term care residents. Whether caring for a family member or friend, care partners are an integral part of a resident’s care team. Restricting care partner access to long-term care homes not only harms the physical and mental health of residents, it is also a violation of the right every resident has to welcome family members and friends into their home.
Staff, family members, and most of all residents have made tremendous sacrifices to control the Covid-19 pandemic. While the pandemic is far from over, thanks to these sacrifices we are now in a position to plan for the “new normal”.
Inconsistent and insufficient care partner access to long-term care homes cannot be part of this new reality.
Any restrictions placed on the right of residents to welcome a care partner into their home must be based exclusively on the safety of residents. Other considerations, such as lack of personal protective equipment or staff shortages, cannot be used to justify keeping residents separated from their support network.
We have heard from countless care partners heartbroken at being separated from their friend or loved one. To help you start a conversation with your local Member of Provincial Parliament on why care partner access to long-term care is so crucial, we have put together a self-advocacy toolkit, designed for care partners, family members, and community advocates.
You can download the toolkit by clicking here.