Alzheimer Society worries P.E.I. dementia strategy no closer to becoming reality

The Alzheimer Society of P.E.I. is worried the Island won't have a provincial dementia strategy anytime soon.

Alzheimer Society of P.E.I. has been lobbying for a dementia strategy for 9 years

A dementia strategy would help people get on with their lives after a diagnosis, says Corrine Hendrickson-Eldershaw. (CBC)

The Alzheimer Society of P.E.I. is worried the Island won't have a provincial dementia strategy anytime soon.

In November of 2015 then health minister Doug Currie said the framework for a dementia strategy was complete.

Corinne Hendricken-Eldershaw feels personal disappointment in the delay in the strategy. (Laura Meader/CBC)

But Corrine Hendricken-Eldershaw, executive director of the Alzheimer Society of P.E.I., said she isn't hopeful.

"It became very clear in our meetings with our minister of health, Robert Henderson, that this isn't something that we're going to see being released this year," she said.

"I know when I'm beaten, and I feel that is something that I knew very clearly at that meeting in October."

Hendricken-Eldershaw has been lobbying for a strategy for nine years.

There are about 2,500 Islander with dementia.

A clear role

Without a strategy, said Hendricken-Eldershaw, it is more difficult for patients and their caregivers to know where to turn after a diagnosis.

A strategy would lay out clearly responsibilities for community groups and the health-care system, providing patients with easier answers to important questions.

  • Where to go for education?
  • What is the treatment plan?
  • Who will help navigate the health system?
  • What do I need to plan for?

Hendricken-Eldershaw said an excellent example of a strategy was released in Nova Scotia a year ago.

"It's very clear what the role is in the system navigation from point of diagnosis to end of life," she said.

A strategy would go a long way towards helping to create more dementia-friendly communities, said Hendricken-Eldershaw.

'Causes my heart some pain'

She said the lack of strategy in P.E.I. is a personal disappointment for her.

"It certainly causes my heart some pain," she said.

"I feel that I could have done better, or you wish you could have done better."

CBC News asked the provincial government for a comment on releasing a dementia strategy, but it has not yet provided one.

With files from Island Morning