Dementia Poll Report

October 22nd, 2010

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Three quarters of members agree with the Liberal Party policy of caregiver support consisting of tax credits and EI benefits worth $1 billion a year, the plurality believe that reduced hospital and nursing home stays will cover the cost of the program and the vast majority think a caregiver support policy is an important priority, even in the face of the many other issues the government faces.

While many feel the cost of the program will be covered by the reduction in hospital/nursing home beds occupied, an equal proportion believe the savings from the end of the Afghan war could fund it, or that a roll-back of planned corporate tax cuts would cover costs.

Members are far more likely to say they will support a party that sponsors this kind of caregiver policy than they are to vote against this party.

Close to a third of members have a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia, about half of these family members are at home and in about one third of cases, the respondent is the primary caregiver. The recipient of care is most likely to be a female parent, but females often care for male spouses, while children care for female parents.

Caregivers agree they do not have the training and information to be as effective as they could be and information on coping techniques and government programs are the most desired.

Close to one third have had to take time off work for their caregiver duties, most say they require a day or two of respite a week and the majority do not get this time. The vast majority of caregivers say they suffer stress from their duties.

Members agree there are not enough resources in their province to deal with dementia, the majority approve of paid time off for caregivers and that caregivers should receive the same compensation as new mothers on maternity leave.

Members call for increased training for early diagnosis, tax credits or payments to caregivers, respite support and coordination of care services. They are most likely to believe direct payments are the way to financially support caregivers, but some also opt for increased EI or tax credits. Home care is the one service most see as being useful in dealing with dementia.

The Conservatives have lost support and the Liberals have gained some as the gap between the parties narrows since the last wave of polling. Volatility in NDP support has subsided, but at a lower level than previously.

Keywords: mental impairment