The government and Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia are co-leading an advisory committee that will guide the development, consultation and implementation of Nova Scotia’s first comprehensive plan to care for people with dementia and their families. Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine announced today, Jan. 27, that the provincial dementia strategy will aim to improve timely access to services, provide support for caregivers and ensure people affected by dementia can remain independent for as long as possible. “Nova Scotia has an aging population. As we grow older, there will be greater pressures on our health-care system to deliver the care people with dementia need and deserve,” said Mr. Glavine. “This work will take time to develop, build and implement correctly. It’s my goal to enhance delivery of dementia care and treatment so Nova Scotians living with dementia, as well as their families and caregivers, are well supported.” The advisory committee members will soon be named and provide direction and advice on the strategy’s content, recommendations and help craft the implementation plan. Nova Scotians with dementia, caregivers and service providers and geriatric health care professionals will make up the advisory committee members. “We’re very pleased the minister and government are moving forward with this commitment,” said Lloyd Brown, executive director of the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia. “We are excited to partner on a strategy that will support caregivers and families and no doubt add quality of life to those affected by dementia.” Nova Scotia has the oldest population per capita in the country; about 17.7 per cent of Nova Scotians are aged 65 or over. Mr. Glavine said these demographics highlight the need to review and refocus the province’s Continuing Care Strategy and create a provincial dementia strategy. “I am enthusiastic about taking part in helping to formulate a dementia strategy,” said Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, professor of geriatric medicine and neurology at Dalhousie University. “The commitment to a system that is more responsive, more efficient and more effective is inspiring.” A panel of experts was invited to discuss Nova Scotia’s aging population, its impacts on the Continuing Care Strategy and solutions around care delivery. The Minister’s Roundtable on Continuing Care brought together leading Nova Scotia researchers, academics, clinicians and advocates who work with seniors and people of all ages with disabilities and conditions for a discussion about how best to care for an aging population and how to move forward on a dementia strategy. January is national Alzheimer Awareness month. “January is a good time to begin work on the strategy as understanding the effects of living with dementia are top of mind for all Nova Scotians,” said Mr. Glavine. The provincial dementia strategy will be announced in spring 2015.