Improve care and quality of life for dementia patients, expert panel urges

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It took more than two years before Keith Barrett, 59, was diagnosed with early-onset dementia after the Ottawa businessman began having increasingly unsettling memory problems that left him frustrated and angry. (Canadian Press)

(Sheryl Ubelacker/ Canadian Press) — An expert panel has released a report outlining the best ways to tackle the growing incidence of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia among Canadians as a basis for the federal government’s long-promised national strategy on the progressive brain diseases.

The report by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences panel, released Monday, is aimed at helping the Public Health Agency of Canada create and implement a national dementia strategy, which is expected to be unveiled toward the end of this year.

“The report is not a plan,” said Dr. Howard Bergman of McGill University, who chaired the six-member panel. “It will inform those preparing the plan by looking at the evidence and then assessing the best practices.”

More than half a million Canadians are living with dementia. By 2031, that number is expected to nearly double, says the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Two-thirds of those affected by the neurodegenerative conditions are women. (…)

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