George’s statment on the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C.

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G. Heyman: It gives me pleasure to join the Health Minister today in welcoming citizens from around B.C. who are in the gallery, concerned about Alzheimer’s — in particular, Maria Howard, Jim Mann and Dan Levitt from the Alzheimer Society, which happens to be located in my constituency of Vancouver-Fairview.

Many constituents in Vancouver-Fairview volunteer with the society and have come in to my office to talk to me about this looming crisis. As the minister mentioned, there are more than 70,000 cases in B.C. today of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. There are also 15,000 new cases a year being diagnosed, and the projection is that over the next 25 years that number will double.

The Alzheimer Society is the only province wide non-profit organization that’s dedicated to helping people who are facing dementia, and it’s been doing this for over 25 years. As part of a national society, a federation of provincial societies, it’s the largest non-government funder of dementia research, called the Alzheimer Society research program.

It supports biomedical research finding the causes and potential treatments for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementias. They also do quality-of-life research focused on improvements in care and improving the quality of life for those suffering and their families and caregivers.

Programs offered by the society include First Link, early intervention that connects individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s diseases with services; Minds in Motion, a fitness and social program; the Safely Home program to address wandering; and educational workshops and support groups.

I’d also like to particularly note Jim Mann who, since he was diagnosed seven years ago, has been the driving force behind Jim’s Push for a Plan to make Alzheimer’s disease a priority in B.C. He and the society are still pushing to address this growing crisis and improve the lives of the 70,000 sufferers.