This year, during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, I would like to reflect upon the journey of the many Canadians impacted by dementia. As the Minister of Health, I have heard from many individuals, families and caregivers of their experiences. As a daughter of a parent living with dementia, I know first-hand the toll it takes on individuals and their loved ones.
I am proud to report that the Government of Canada is taking tangible steps to address the challenges of dementia and to improve the quality of life for the more than 400,000 Canadians aged 65 and older living with diagnosed dementia, as well as their families and caregivers.
I recently launched the Dementia Community Investment Fund that will provide $4 million annually for communities to address the challenges of dementia. Projects will promote awareness, address stigma, and equip families and caregivers with resources and tools to support people living with dementia while minimizing the impact on their own quality of life. Improving society’s understanding of dementia will help break down the barriers to treatment and make it easier for Canadians to ask for help when they need it.
The Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, with continued support from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), is developing, testing and scaling-up products and services to support brain health with a focus on dementia. And with support for the Canadian Institute of Health Research, innovative research is bringing us closer to finding effective treatments and improving quality of life.
Finally, work is well underway to develop the National Dementia Strategy. Last May, PHAC’s National Dementia Conference brought together a broad range of stakeholder groups and partners from across the country, including individuals with lived experience to help inform the strategy. Their perspectives and valuable input will help ensure that the strategy reflects the needs of Canadians.
This month, please join me in recognizing the Canadians affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as the extraordinary dedication of caregivers. I look forward to our continued work together to improve their lives.
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health