Saturday, December 10, 2011

Alzheimer Society Of Ontario Welcomes Proposed Caregiver Leave Legislation

Number of family caregivers to increase with dementia prevalence

TORONTO, December 8, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Alzheimer Society of Ontario applauds the Ontario Government's introduction of legislation to create a Family Caregiver Leave as announced today by Minister of Labour Linda Jeffrey and Minister of Health and Long-term Care Deb Matthews.

"Today's legislation, if passed, would be a welcome solution for many caregivers and families living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias," says David Harvey, Chief Public Policy and Program Initiatives Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.

Ontarians with dementia will require more and complex care as the number of cases increase by 40 per cent in the next 10 years. The responsibility of care falls largely on the shoulders of family members who will provide 144 million hours of unpaid care per year by 2020. Many caregivers are forced to give up their jobs to care for someone full time at home or develop health issues as a result of the pressures of caregiving.

"The Alzheimer Society has been working diligently with all political parties on behalf of caregiver rights," adds Harvey. "Today's announcement is a positive step towards strengthening caregiver support but other measures such as flexible respite and non-refundable tax credits would further ease the burden."

In a 2009 caregiver poll conducted by the Alzheimer Society, 62 per cent of respondents said direct payments and tax credits would best help reduce some of the financial burden and other challenges they face in their role.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. It is fatal brain disorder that impairs memory, language and day-to-day function. As the disease progresses, the person diagnosed will require 24-hour care.

While dementia is not a natural part of aging, age remains the biggest risk factor. After 65, the risk doubles every five years. According to Statistics Canada, 9.6 million Canadians will be at least 65 by 2029.

The Alzheimer Society of Ontario is the province's leading care and research charity committed to helping people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. With a network of 38 local Societies, it offers Help for Today through programs and services and Hope for Tomorrow…® by funding research to find the cause and the cure.

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