Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes the news that The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for Health and Sport is now also Minister for Aged Care. We also welcome Australia’s first Minister of Indigenous heritage, The Hon. Ken Wyatt MP, as Assistant Health Minister.
Alzheimer’s Australia National President, Professor Graeme Samuel AC said it is very positive that the nexus between aged care and health is being recognised. Professor Samuel said it is encouraging to hear Minister Ley say she put her hand up to “bring responsibility for aged care back to health and give it a seat at the cabinet table.”
“As the second leading cause of death in Australia, dementia is no longer an aged care issue, it is a priority health issue.” Professor Samuel said.
Alzheimer’s Australia CEO, Carol Bennett said, “having aged care and health in the one Ministry will better ensure the needs of people with dementia are at the forefront of health and well-being policy debates. The experience of dementia is largely informed by the response of the health system and the broader community. It should not be relegated to just being an issue of ageing or aged care. The vast majority of people living with dementia are in the community. This includes more than 25,000 people under 65 years of age who have younger onset dementia.”
For the 342,800 Australians currently living with dementia, we hope this change will lead to:
• greater awareness of risk factors and risk reduction for dementia
• timely diagnosis to delay the onset so people can live in their community for as long as possible
• more education and training for healthcare professionals who are on the front line of dementia care
• better support and care for people living with dementia and their carers and families
• increased investment in dementia research.
“Alzheimer’s Australia would also like to acknowledge and thank the former Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator The Hon. Mitch Fifield for his support and dedicated service to aged care.
“We welcome this positive move to the health portfolio. We now need to focus on tackling the dementia challenge and improving the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia in Australia,” Ms Bennett said.
Alzheimer’s Australia is the peak body representing people with dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. More than 342,800 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) www.fightdementia.org.au