As Minister of Health, I would like to draw attention to Alzheimer Awareness Month, which takes place each year in January.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in Canada. It is a progressive and irreversible disease. Sadly, there is no cure – and just as troubling, the number of Canadians who are living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia is expected to double by 2031.
While the main risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is age, it is also important to understand that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Younger people, in their 40s or 50s, have been diagnosed with the early onset form of the disease.
Many countries around the world are facing a similar situation. That is why the Government of Canada has joined its G7 partners in addressing this growing challenge. Together, we committed to coordinate international efforts with an aim to find a cure or disease-modifying treatment for dementia by 2025.
Last fall, I was honoured to co-host with the Government of France, a Global Dementia Legacy Event in Ottawa. This gathering of the top international academia and industry experts from G7 countries will help translate research into real solutions for people living with dementia, their families and caregivers.
In the coming year, our Government will be working with the Alzheimer Society of Canada to launch Dementia Friends Canada, rolling it out in communities across the country. This public education program will help Canadians learn the facts about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, and how it affects the people who live with those diseases. With this knowledge, they can become more aware of the small things they might do to help.
At the same time, more than 300 researchers across the country will forge ahead with their work through the newly established Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) to improve our understanding of dementia, how we can prevent it and how we can improve the quality of life of Canadians living with dementia and their caregivers.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank organizations like the Alzheimer Society of Canada for their work, and to encourage all Canadians to learn more about Alzheimer disease and dementia and how we can all help make our communities dementia-friendly.
To learn more about how the Government of Canada is working to improve the lives of Canadians with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, please read our National Dementia Research and Prevention Plan. For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, including support services, please visit the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health