9 in 10 Australians want action on dementia

A staggering nine in 10 Australians want the Government to tackle the growing dementia challenge[1], new research has found, yet there is still no national, funded strategy to address this increasing public health issue.

A recent public survey Alzheimer’s Australia has undertaken with Roy Morgan Research to find out what the public really think about dementia also found that seven out of 10 Australians have been impacted by dementia in some way1:

·       35% have a close family member who has/had dementia

·       25% have an extended family member who has/had dementia

·       10% have a close friend who has/had dementia

·       12% have helped care or support someone who has/had dementia

 

There is estimated to be more than 353,800 Australians living with dementia, which is expected to soar to almost 900,000 people by 2050[2].

Alzheimer’s Australia NSW CEO The Hon. John Watkins AM said that clearly dementia is a major priority for voters this federal election.

“Dementia is the second leading cause of death in this country, people with dementia and their carers need to see effective dementia policies from all sides of Government to address this condition that is set to outstrip all other health spending by 2060[3],” Mr Watkins said.

“Alzheimer’s Australia has been calling for Government to address dementia. We need a co-ordinated strategy, a national plan that addresses the issues that arise from early symptoms, diagnosis, care and support, risk reduction, home care and respite, aged care and end-of-life-care, and to continue to support research in the hope of one day finding a cure.  The challenge is big, but as this new survey highlights, people across Australia want to see real political leadership on this issue.”

As a first step Alzheimer’s Australia is asking all political parties to commit to addressing and funding:

·       $1.3 million to make Australia a more dementia-friendly place for people with dementia

·       $15 million per annum for dementia-specific respite services

·       $1 million per annum to improve quality of care in aged care - led by consumers.

Only one in four Australians surveyed felt confident that high quality services would be available in the event they needed to find an aged care facility for themselves or a family member with dementia. Four in five felt the Government should be providing information (such as ratings) about the quality of life of residents in aged care facilities[1].

 

[1] Research conducted by Roy Morgan Research for Alzheimer’s Australia (May 2016)

[2] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia

[3] Access Economics (2009) Keeping Dementia Front of Mind: Incidence and prevalence 2009-2050. Report for Alzheimer’s Australia