COMMENT: MLA makes connections with seniors
A new year is a great opportunity to share my enthusiasm for my commitment to work hard for British Columbia’s seniors and their families. As Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors, I look forward to continuing to connect with as many British Columbians as I can throughout the province.
What better time to reconnect with B.C.’s seniors than in January, Alzheimer Awareness Month. Up to 70,000 British Columbians are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, or another dementia, and almost 10,000 of those individuals are under the age of 65. These are our friends, family members and our neighbours.
Alzheimer’s will eventually impact the thoughts, actions, and feelings of those with the disease and how they react to their environment. These symptoms can sometimes be misunderstood as depression or even as normal signs of aging. Alzheimer Awareness Month is one way we can raise awareness so that families affected by this terrible disease know they are not alone and know where to find help and information.
Government is committed to ensuring that those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias have access to early diagnosis, treatment and support. The Province’s Dementia Action Plan commits government to supporting community programs, such as the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s First Link Program, which, together with physicians, refers people with dementia and their families to support services as early as possible.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have a profound impact on the family members who act as caregivers. Front line community groups work hard with health authorities to continue to improve the services available for individuals caring for loved ones by offering personalized patient care plans and support groups. Raising awareness about available services and the impacts of this disease is critical, especially in rural B.C., to ensure that diagnosed individuals and their families feel supported and encouraged to remain active and engaged in their communities.
On January 26, Health Minister Terry Lake and I will each be attending an Investors Group Walk for Memories held in support of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. These walks take place in 23 communities throughout the province and I’ll be at the walk in Vancouver. Attending the Walk for Memories is a great way to support families in your community who are impacted by dementia.
I want to know what is going on with seniors in B.C. and let you know that your voice matters. Beginning in February, I will be sending out a monthly newsletter that will be a part of that ongoing dialogue and a chance for me to share information about B.C. seniors. You are invited to sign up for that newsletter at http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/enews-subscribe.html
To learn more about the First Link Program and supports available in your community please visit the Alzheimer Society of B.C. website at: http://alzheimerbc.org/
To register for the Investors Group Walk for Memories, please visit: www.walkformemories.com today.