Running Out of Time

But successive federal governments have failed to seriously address this looming crisis for health care.

Now, we are running out of time. This is no longer some nebulous future problem. It is coming — soon — and we need to prepare.

We need incentives for research on early detection. Through early detection, there is an opportunity for therapy and treatment that could delay onset.

We need respite and support for caregivers, usually spouses and family. Without that, those caregivers will, themselves, put more pressure on the health-care system, which is already stretched thin.

We cannot simply warehouse these people.

We need innovative funding for dementia care. Our health-care system will be overwhelmed by the coming need for services, unless we develop flexible funding that balances universality with the need for more diversity in funding partnerships with, for example, the private sector.

We need a new approach to dignified long-term care for dementia patients, many of whom will no longer be able to be cared for at home and will need restraints for their own safety. We cannot simply warehouse these people with little recognition of the importance of their quality of life and the feelings of their spouses and families.

Perhaps most crucially, we need to stop avoiding the issues we know are coming very soon. The federal government must get to work — now — on a national plan, as well as the funding mechanisms that will be required to ensure the provinces are able to provide the best — and the most appropriate — services.

Reprinted with permission of Lee Prokaska

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