Dementia refers to a large class of disorders characterized by the progressive deterioration of thinking ability and memory. Symptoms may include loss of memory, judgment and reasoning, changes in mood, behaviour and the ability to communicate. These symptoms may affect a person’s ability to function at work, in social relationships, or in the usual activities of daily living.
It is estimated that close to 228,000 Ontarians are currently living with dementia, and this number is expected to increase. By 2038, it is forecasted that over 430,000 Ontarians will have dementia (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Discussion Paper, 2016). Specifically in Central LHIN, there were over 25,000 people living with a diagnosis of dementia in 2016/17; this is expected to rise to over 35,000 by 2025 (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care).
Dementia has a profound life-changing impact - not only on the person living with dementia, but also on their family, friends and caregivers. Caregivers play a vital role in helping a person living with dementia to live safely at home, coordinate their care, and navigate the health care system.
Through Central LHIN Home and Community Care, along with funding that the LHIN provides to other Health Service Providers, there are programs and services available to help support individuals with dementia (adult day and evening programs, transportation services, behavioural supports, specialized long-term care) or their caregivers (patient navigation supports, respite programs). Please feel welcome to contact Central LHIN for information.
Across Ontario, there is significant work underway to advance understanding and support for dementia care. In 2017, the Government of Ontario released a Dementia Strategy, and asked the 14 LHINs to develop local recommendations for dementia planning.
The Central LHIN established a Dementia Strategy Advisory Committee in 2017 and, through research, consultations and community engagement, produced a planning report in 2018 which outlines 10 recommendations to advance dementia planning in the Central LHIN.
Successes and Highlights in 2018/19:
- Commenced operationalization of recommendations in the Central LHIN Dementia Planning Report.
- Funded the Alzheimer Society York Region First Link program to support an additional 200 clients annually with patient navigation services.
- Assisted nearly 2,000 people to access Adult Day Programs (ADP) across over 20 community support service agencies.
- Expanded funding to three of these agencies to add an 12,249 ADP days last year.
- Increased investment for overnight respite programs to enable 1,060 additional overnight stays for 130 more people.
- Increased transportation supports – supported 17,776 additional transportation rides through iRide to help people get to their ADP or overnight program.
- In six local hospitals, supported specialized Geriatric Emergency Management (GEM) nurses. GEM nurses are trained on the specific medical and social needs of complex frail seniors including individuals with delirium, dementia or depression.
- Expanded specialized Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) to 15 additional Long-Term Care Homes, nearly doubling the number of homes in Central LHIN with embedded BSO staff to 33.
- Supported phase two of the Caregiver Support Framework, developed in collaboration with over 850 caregivers and health service providers.