Tasmanian election candidates urged to tackle dementia

Monday 26 February 2018

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

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said with almost 11,000 Tasmanians 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 21,220 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 Tasmania.

“Our research showed that last year dementia cost Tasmanians a staggering $237 million dollars.

“We believe that by working in partnership with the Tasmanian Government we can reduce these costs while still being able to improve the lives of all people impacted by dementia,” Ms McCabe said.

For Tasmania Dementia Australia is seeking:

  • Up to $1.5 million to fund the establishment and staffing of a dementia- friendly community centre;

  • $150,000 to fund the establishment of dementia-friendly transport;

  • $150,000 to fund the establishment and delivery of the Education Dementia Immersive Experience (EDIE) that uses world-leading virtual reality technology;

  • $800,000 per annum to provide dementia-specialist care navigators; and

  • Support by all parties and candidates for a national funded dementia action plan.

“A dementia-friendly community centre, that is responsive to local needs, has the potential to deliver large savings by providing the necessary support to avoid or delay hospitalisations and the early entry to residential care for people living with dementia,” 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 Tasmania is vital to ensure that people living with a diagnosis of dementia are supported in the way that they need and deserve.

“Additionally, it is crucial we continue to provide support to people with younger onset dementia (those diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65 years), their families and carers in 2018 and beyond,” Ms McCabe said.

Currently people living with younger onset dementia in Tasmania are asked to navigate multiple complex systems, with families and carers falling between the cracks of the disability and aged care systems.

“Funding of $800,000 per annum will help Dementia Australia Tasmania Division provide dementia-specialist care navigators who can support this vulnerable group of people as they navigate the complex interfaces between disability, aged, acute and community based care,” Ms McCabe said.

At a cost of $2.6 million Dementia Australia’s proposals provide all political parties and candidates with an opportunity to make Tasmania 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.

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 / christine.bolt@dementia.org.au

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