International call for national action plan on dementia

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20 September, 2013
The number of dependent older people will soar from 101 million in 2010 to 277 million in 2050 with nearly half of them living with dementia, leading to calls for a national action plan on dementia to better support informal carers of people with the chronic disease, according to a report released today by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI).

Professor Martin Prince, leading author of the World Alzheimer Report 2013, said that, “Compared with other long-term care users, people with dementia need more personal care, more hours of care, and more supervision, all of which is associated with greater caregiver strain, and higher costs.

“Their needs for care start early in the disease course, and evolve constantly over time, requiring advanced planning, monitoring, and coordination. That’s why dementia needs to be a public health priority and adequate planning needs to be in place so that people with dementia can live well.”

Ita Buttrose, Australian of the Year and National President of Alzheimer’s Australia supported the call from ADI and said, “In Australia a new National Framework for Action on Dementia is needed if the health and care systems are to deliver high quality care and support to people throughout the dementia journey.”

“The last Framework agreed by Health Ministers terminated in 2010 and a revision is still under consideration. That is not good enough,” Ms Buttrose said.

“Australia’s current health and care system will not cope with the rapid increase in the number of people with dementia unless there is recognition of the need for concerted action at the national and state levels across primary and acute care, community and residential care, preventive health and research.

“Key areas to address included a reduction in the time it takes to get a diagnosis of dementia, making hospitals safer places for people with dementia, access to respite care services and the quality of residential care.”

There are more than 320,000 people with dementia in Australia and an estimated 1.2 million who are involved in their care.

“Bipartisan support for action on dementia over the last decade had resulted in Australia being a world leader in giving priority to dementia. Even so it was only in August 2012 that dementia had been finally recognised as a National Health Priority area alongside other chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease,” Ms Buttrose said.

“We are hopeful that Australia will continue to lead the way with bipartisan support for the aged care reforms legislated this year and the Coalition’s policy for Healthy Life, Better Ageing that focuses on investment in dementia research, quality care and respect for older Australians.”

Alzheimer’s Australia is the charity for people with dementia and their families and carers. As the peak body, it provides advocacy, support services, education and information. More than 320,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than half a million by 2030.

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

Editors to note: A copy of the World Alzheimer Report 2013 is available upon request.

Media enquiries:
Krystal Craig 0407 019 430 / [email protected]

Download the Media Release

Download the ADI World Alzheimer's Report

Please note: we have been given permission by ADI to break their embargo.