Today, the New Democratic Party joins hundreds of countries around the world in recognizing World Alzheimer’s Day.
In 2011, nearly one Canadian in seven aged 65 years and up had Alzheimer’s or a related disease.
These alarming statistics are only going to get worse. As a first wave of baby-boomers just reached 65 years of age and our elderly population continues to grow, it is essential for the Canadian government to make Alzheimer’s a priority, as several countries, including the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and France have already done.
The direct and indirect costs of this and other related diseases are already in the tens of millions of dollars, and the Alzheimer Society predicts that this number will jump even higher in the coming years.
Alzheimer’s wreaks havoc wherever it strikes. Currently, one in five people over the age of 45 are caregivers, a quarter of whom are elderly, worn down and compromising their own health to assist their loved ones. These people, like those directly affected by the disease, require resources and assistance from the government.
As a result, the NDP has proposed a national strategy for neurodegenerative diseases, to limit the impact of diseases like Alzheimer’s on our health, economy, and society.
Today, on behalf of the entire NDP team, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all caregivers for their efforts, and to reiterate the NDP’s commitment to making Alzheimer’s a priority.