OTTAWA, Dec. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada needs a national seniors care
strategy to respond to issues such as the fast-growing dementia
dilemma, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) said today.
Dr. Chris Simpson, CMA President-elect, said Canada must move now to
invest in a national seniors care strategy and join the 13 countries
that already have dementia strategies in place. He added such a
strategy is critical to helping our overtaxed health care system cope
with about three quarters of a million Canadians already living with
Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
He made the comment on the eve of the Dec. 11 G8 Dementia Summit in
Dementia currently costs the Canadian economy $33 billion a year in
direct health-care costs or indirect costs of lost income of family
members acting as caregivers. The Alzheimer's Society of Canada
predicts that by 2031, 1.4 million Canadians will have dementia, and by
2040 the annual cost to the economy will reach $293 billion.
"We have the dubious distinction of being the only G8 country without a
national dementia strategy. Meanwhile, our acute care hospitals are
overflowing with patients awaiting long term care placement and our
long-term care facilities are understaffed, underspaced and
underequipped to care for our most vulnerable seniors. This leaves
patients and their families in limbo, struggling to fill these gaps in
our system," Dr. Simpson said.
"It's an urgent situation worldwide. That's why there is a G8 Summit in
London this week."
British Prime Minister David Cameron is using Britain's 2013 presidency
of the G8 to lead coordinated global action against what his government
believes is becoming one of the greatest pressures on families,
caregivers and health systems around the world.
Britain, with a population of 64 million, has roughly the same number of
people suffering from dementia as Canada does even though its
population is just 35 million.
"While Canada is not unique in facing what the World Health Organization
calls a dementia epidemic, we need to be prepared," Dr. Simpson said.
"That is why the CMA recommends we invest in a dementia strategy, as
part of a national seniors care strategy, to expand research, increase
support for informal caregivers and ensure access to the continuum of
Summit organizers say there is a new diagnosis of dementia every four
seconds around the world, and by 2020 there will be 70 million people
on the planet living with the condition.
In its pre-budget submission (click here for link) last month, the CMA urged the federal government to invest $25 million
over five years toward a dementia strategy for Canada. Some $10 million
would go for research into the disease, while another $10 million would
be for increased support for informal caregivers. The remaining $5
million would be for knowledge transfer, dissemination of best
practices, as well as education and training.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian
physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional
organization representing more than 80,000 of Canada's physicians and
comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 51
national medical organizations. CMA's mission is to serve and unite the
physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with
the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health
SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association
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