The federal government released a national strategy on dementia on Monday that focuses on preventing the affliction, supporting caregivers and finding cures.
According to federal statistics, more than 419,000 Canadian seniors have been diagnosed with some form of dementia, and they rely on an average of 26 hours a week of help from relatives and friends.
Most people with dementia and most caregivers are women.
Mental decline can have many different causes but there are few treatments and those that exist don’t do much but slow dementia’s progression.
Prevention is a major emphasis in the $50-million strategy, with the government hoping that if Canadians get more exercise, eat better and don’t smoke, they’ll avoid dementia causes such as strokes.
The government also wants help to be more readily available to caregivers and make them more willing to ask for it.
“By working together with all orders of government and different sectors to implement this strategy, we can advance prevention and treatment efforts, and improve the quality of life for those living with dementia as well as their families and caregivers,” Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said in a statement.