South Australian election candidates called on to commit to increased regional support and improved training in aged care

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Dementia Australia has today called on all political parties and independent candidates in South Australia to make policy and funding commitments to tackle dementia ahead of the forthcoming State election.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said with almost 35,700 South Australia living with dementia it is essential that dementia is declared a state health priority to ensure people living with dementia, their families and carers are supported to live the best quality of life possible with meaning, purpose and value.

“Without a significant medical breakthrough, this figure is expected to rise to more than 74,000 by 2056, [1] Ms McCabe said.

“With 70 per cent of people living with dementia living in the community [2] these numbers highlight the need for ongoing and community-focused dementia support in South Australia.

“Our research showed that last year dementia care cost South Australians a staggering $1.23 billion dollars.

“We believe that by working in partnership with the South Australian Government we can reduce these costs while still being able to improve the lives of all people impacted by dementia,” Ms McCabe said.For South Australia Dementia Australia is seeking:

  1. $700,000 to enhance dementia support for rural and regional South Australians through Dementia Link Workers;
  2. $1 million to create Dementia-Friendly Communities in the areas of Mayo, Fisher and Davenport where preliminary community discussions have commenced.
  3. $550,000 for improving End of Life Care through the Nightingale Nurses;
  4. $250,000 to increase training and support for South Australian aged care workforce to better understand dementia; and
  5. A commitment by all parties and candidates to call for a national funded dementia action plan.

“Many people living with dementia are admitted to hospital receiving unwanted interventions instead of receiving the palliative care they may need and want at home or in an aged care home,” Ms McCabe said.

“Access is even more limited for people from rural regions and socially, culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“Dementia Australia’s Nightingale Nurses in South Australia fill these crucial gaps and meet the needs of people living with dementia and their families.”

Increased funding of $550,000 will enable the expansion of the provision of the current Nightingale Nurses model, facilitating the addition of four more specialised dementia nurses to support the unique palliative care needs of south Australians living with dementia.

“Supporting the creation of dementia-friendly communities – an inclusive, dementia-aware community - will not only improve the lives of people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers but will empower and enable people to be well supported and stay in their homes, where most people want to be, for longer,” Ms McCabe said.

“Each year that a person can live in the community before being admitted to residential care reduces the cost to the health and aged care system, as well as providing significant benefits for the individual’s quality of life.

“Increased and sustained funding for dementia services in South Australia is vital to ensure that people living with a diagnosis of dementia are supported in the way that they need and deserve.

At a cost of $2.5 million Dementia Australia’s proposals provide all political parties and candidates with an opportunity to make South Australia a pioneering dementia-friendly society, where people with dementia are accepted for their individuality, their value to family, community and their retained capacities, and not be defined by their condition.

Further details about the Dementia Australia South Australian 2018 Election Priorities are online at


[1] The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling NATSEM for Alzheimer’s Australia (2017) Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056
[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017) Causes of Death, Australia, 2016 Accessed online

Dementia Australia is the national peak body for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 425,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than 1.1 million by 2056. Dementia Australia is the new voice of Alzheimer’s Australia.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500
Interpreter service available
(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)
Dementia is a National Health Priority Area

Media contacts: Christine Bolt, 0400 004 553 / [email protected]

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines.