To the editor:
I have a 43-year-old teacher volunteering on my campaign for a national dementia plan because, astonishingly, his wife who is 45 is already in secure, long-term care with the illness (Frontotemporal dementia, FTD). They have three children - 14, 12 and 10.
About 15 per cent of the 750,000 Canadians living with dementia are under 60 years old.
When you also realize that people with dementia have on average three or four caregivers, that means dementia is already directly affecting at least three million Canadians. Those numbers will quadruple in a generation.
My private member’s bill for a national dementia plan (C-356) will be debated in the House of Commons later this year.
I urge you to contact your local MP so they know voters in their riding back a national strategy and federal leadership working with provincial and municipal partners. This strategy will deliver research, early diagnosis and intervention, support for caregivers, workforce training for the workforce, and strengthening the integration of primary, home and community care.
I believe Members of Parliament from all parties should back a national dementia strategy but it will help their decision knowing voters in their ridings support this.
Claude Gravelle MP (NDP)