Government action needed on treating dementia

B.C.’s new premier says that families will be the focus for her government. I would like to introduce Premier Clark to 70,000 families in our province who are on the dementia journey. I am writing not only as a person with Alzheimer’s disease, but as someone who was diagnosed in my 50s, urging our new premier to continue the government’s commitment to improving the lives of people with dementia and their families.

Baby boomers are finding themselves as the “sandwich generation”, working full-time jobs, caring for parents who are living with dementia, as well as, supporting children who are still living at home. In some cases, the baby boomer is the one living with dementia, with approximately 10,000 people under the age of 65 currently diagnosed with the disease.

There is no cure for dementia and the journey ultimately leads to the need for total care.

Family caregivers provide unimaginable amounts of time providing informal or unpaid care. Their journey can sometimes be lonely, isolating and is often frustrating. Support is needed for these families. Inaction will have an enormous impact not only on B.C. families but on our healthcare system. Support is needed for these families; action to turn the rising tide must happen now.

Dementia needs to be on the political agenda and we need all partners working together.

Jim Mann

Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2007 and volunteer member the Alzheimer Society of B.C. Board of Directors