Gore Bay council supports calls for national action plan on dementia

GORE BAY—The Town of Gore Bay has given its support to the Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin (ASSM) in lobbying the provincial and federal governments for a national action plan on dementia.

Mayor Ron Lane, at a council meeting last week explained, “the Alzheimers Society of Sudbury-Manitoulin is requesting the provincial and federal governments for a national dementia strategy.”

Councillor Jack Clark asked “has anyone talked to the local medical staff as to whether they support this request? The letter and resolution they (ASSM) have sent looks to be straight forward, but I’m a long way from being an expert and telling the government what to do on this.”

“I think we do have their (medical staff) support on this,” said Councillor Lou Addison.

Mr. Lane said a resolution would also support NDP Nickel Belt MP Claude Gravelle’s call for a national strategy for dementia. “This motion was supported by council for the Greater City of Sudbury and would be proposed legislation for the government to consider.”

Ms. Addison said that there have been cutbacks to the full-time employee of the ASSM on Manitoulin. “Her hours were cut in half, so they (ASSM) are definitely short in providing the necessary support needed,” said Ms. Addison. “She has a client base of over 80 people on the Island and they want to cut her mileage back but they can’t or shouldn’t do this, especially when she has to travel to Meldrum Bay, for example, to do an assessment on a patient.”

Council passed a motion in support of the request from ASSM on its request.

Lorraine Leblanc, ASSM representative, states in a letter to council, “every five minutes a new case of dementia is reported in Canada. I am contacting your municipality to discuss the need for collaboration as Canadians to work together to implement a national, provincial and municipal dementia strategy to meet the growing needs of all citizens in the next 30 years.”

“Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are progressive and degenerative diseases of the brain that cause thinking and memory to become impaired,” wrote Ms. LeBlanc. “Currently, over 500,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias (including 200,000 Ontarians) and within the next generation this number is expected to rise to 1.1 billion people. The current health care costs associated with these diseases are over $15 billion annually and this amount is steadily increasing.”

“Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have a momentous impact on those living with these diseases and also their caregivers, families, health care providers and communities,” continued Ms. LeBlanc. “Some of the consequences of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia include the need for support from informal caregivers, the need for more in-home supports to reduce the use of hospital and long term care beds, the need for more housing models including supportive housing and financial assistance to ensure that people at risk are receiving the subsidized support that they need.”

“Dementia is not a normal part of the aging process and it affects us all, directly and/or indirectly,” wrote Ms. LeBlanc. “Many countries have recognized the urgency and impact of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and have developed strategies accordingly. Canada does not have a strategy for supporting the people, health care system and communities that are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.”

“I am asking you to discuss and pass a resolution in your municipality, as has the City of Greater Sudbury, to support the people in your area who are affected by dementia and to also reduce the economic burden in your community in the future. By building this awareness and through sending this resolution to the governments of Ontario and Canada requesting urgent action for the development of a dementia strategy at all levels of government, we may put into place a plan of action reducing fiscal expenditures.”

Tom Sasvari