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Federal government pumps $50 million into National Dementia Strategy over 5 years

Across Canada, in 2011 alone, caregivers devoted 19.2 million hours of unpaid care, representing a value of $1.2 billion
There are 17,000 people in Nova Scotia living with dementia (Alzheimer's Society of Nova Scotia)

Money for the first ever National Dementia Strategy will provide a shot in the arm to the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, in terms of developing awareness about the disease according to its executive director.

Last week, the federal government earmarked about $50 million (over five years) for a program that has long been advocated for by the society, the details of which will be outlined later this spring.

Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia Executive Director Lloyd Brown tells NEWS 95.7 that while he's not sure the amount will be enough, he does state it's a good step in the right direction for a number of initiatives.

"Public awareness is huge, stigma reduction, we've got to get away from hiding dementia so that our friends and neighbours aren't aware of it," says Brown. "Early diagnosis is an important part of that, and then reaching out to support communities so that they can help their neighbours."

Brown says since the provincial strategy was announced here in Nova Scotia over three years ago, the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia has increased its reach to many areas across the province, and plans to train 320 professional caregivers a year over the next three years through it's 'U-First' program.

Brown adds that while he is happy overall with the funding announcement, the society had recommended $150 million in its pre budget submission.

He doesn't know if the money allocated thus far will be enough.

"We don't know the answer to that question, it'll be enough when we discover the causes of dementia, and we find a cure, is $50 million going to do it? I doubt that very much," states Brown. "Is it a big step in the right direction? Yes I think so."

On June 22nd, 2017, Canada announced it would be developing a National Dementia Strategy, at the time, that would have made it the 30th country to do so.

According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, more than 500,000 Canadians are living with dementia, and this number is expected to nearly double by 2031, and Alzheimer's is already the seventh leading cause of death in Canada.

Furthermore, the society says the cost to care for those with dementia is currently estimated at $10.4 billion, and an NDS will help Canada to meet this challenge in an organised and focused way.


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