Letters to the Editor

Readers write about local councils, and to give thanks for dementia awareness

Dear Editor,

Thanks to the current provincial government, Family Day this year will be celebrated on the third Monday in February, which now aligns the holiday with the majority of other Canadian provinces.

On the Jan. 28, 2019 agenda for the Village of Ashcroft council meeting, councillors were informed about a mini-grant opportunity up to a maximum of $1,000 offered by the Province of B.C. in partnership with the BC Museums Association and open to eligible organizations and local governments on a first-come, first-served basis. The grant is to be used to cover facility costs, equipment rental, and refreshments for a free Family Day event in the applicant’s community.

I want to thank the council for passing the motion directing staff to apply for this funding and in recognizing that supporting families is essential to building a strong, happy, and healthy community. In particular, I want to extend my appreciation to Cllr. Tuohey, who not only made the motion, but also prepared a proposal in advance of the meeting.

The proactiveness and assistance to stafftaken by Cllr. Tuohey convinced other councillors to envision the possibility of the free Family Movie Event at the HUB on Feb. 17; this in spite of the restrictive two-and-a-half week time frame. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Gloria Mertens

Ashcroft, B.C.

Dear Editor,

A survey of recent Village of Cache Creek council meetings indicates residents may be in for a rough ride at the hands of the new mayor and council, who have suggested spending public money to erect a monument to political partisanship.

At first glance, the idea of having a large sign which would function as a digital debt board visible from the highway sounds like a potentially reasonable approach to help keep tabs on government spending and taxation policy. If governments spend beyond their means it would show up in a way that would be a constant reminder to passers-by. Conversely, if governments reduced taxes in an irresponsible manner, thereby creating the need to borrow money, they would be able to be held likewise to shame.

There are, however, a number of problems with the proposal as put forth by our new municipal government. First, there is to be no mention or reference to municipal debt. Supporters, including local MLA Jackie Tegart, perform the equivalent of a Homer Simpson distraction by claiming municipal governments cannot borrow to finance deficit budgets. “Oh look … a bird.”

The fact is, debt is debt, and local municipal debt (and the cost of the sign and who got paid to install it) should be part of any information circulating on a sign that is paid for by municipal tax dollars and installed solely for the purpose of shaming politicians who spend public money.

Second, and far more important, is the issue of flood-related problems the municipality is now experiencing. The Village, in lieu of going into debt to deal with legitimate infrastructure issues, must get the money somewhere. Taxes can be increased or, and more likely, provincial and federal governments will have to be approached in order to try get the money needed for protective infrastructure.

At the same time local officials will be begging their provincial and federal counterparts for vital infrastructure funding, there will be a flashing neon sign, visible from the highway, shaming those very same people for spending money their respective level of government probably doesn’t have. That’s hardly a recipe for success.

If you add in the fact that council has rejected an invitation, from West Coast Environmental Law, to become involved in a program to evaluate the real costs associated with climate change and develop a plan to take action to recoup some of those costs, then it is hard to believe that this new mayor and council are serious about dealing with the real problems facing our community.

Robert MacKay

Cache Creek, B.C.

Dear Editor,

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. thanks the people of Ashcroft, Cache Creek, and the entire Central Interior for their encouraging response to January’s annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and to our campaign intended to challenge stigma surrounding the disease: “Yes. I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.”

Recently, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences released a report by a panel of dementia experts highlighting priorities for a national dementia strategy, work undertaken by the Public Health Agency of Canada in 2018. The authors emphasized the importance of adopting healthy lifestyles that might prevent or delay dementia, as well as overcoming stigma and fear of living with dementia. They stressed that it’s possible to live well with the disease.

Increasingly, when we talk about raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, we need to talk about challenging stigma. Negative attitudes about the disease mean that when someone begins to suspect that they—or someone close to them—might have dementia, they are less likely to seek out a diagnosis. They’re less likely to disclose their situation to others. Worrying that someone will judge them or think of them as being less of a person means people are less likely to ask for help.

The dementia journey can be incredibly isolating. When we talk openly about the disease and challenge preconceived notions, people living with dementia begin to feel like they aren’t alone and can ask for help. They can better prepare themselves for the challenges ahead. Communities play a key role in helping people living with dementia, their families, and caregivers feel like they belong, just by being aware of the disease and actively engaged with learning more about it.

With over half-a-million Canadians currently living with dementia—a number that will only grow as the population ages—it has never been so important to be open to having a conversation about dementia. It’s never been so important to change the conversation.

Though Awareness Month is now over, you can still visit www.ilivewithdementia.ca. Find tips on how to be more dementia friendly, as well as resources to take action against stigma and be better informed about a disease that has the potential to affect every single one of us. You can also use the hashtag #ilivewithdementia to help spread the word.

We would like to thank our local staff and volunteers for their work. We also appreciate the local media’s coverage of dementia issues. The stories help foster a better understanding of the impact this disease has on local families and help the Alzheimer Society of B.C. work towards our goal of a dementia-friendly province.

If your family lives with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, please contact our regional Alzheimer Resource Centre at (250) 377-8200 (toll-free 1-800-886-6946) for information on support groups and the many other services we offer to assist you. You can also call the First Link Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033 and visit www.alzheimerbc.org.

Tara Hildebrand

Support & Education Coordinator,

First Link

Alzheimer Society of B.C.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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