A dementia-friendly budget, an investment in Australia’s health

Media Release

Wednesday 3 February 2016

A dementia-friendly budget, an investment in Australia’s health

Alzheimer’s Australia is calling on the Federal Government to build on last year’s investment in dementia in its Federal Budget Submission released today, Towards 2020 – a Dementia Response for Australia.

Alzheimer’s Australia National President Professor Graeme Samuel commended the Government’s commitment of $200 million for dementia research and called for continued support for people living with dementia, who still struggle to get access to the services and supports they require to achieve a high quality of life.

“With dementia now the second leading cause of death in Australia and more than 342,000 people affected, the Federal Government’s continued investment in dementia care and research is essential for good community as well as budgetary outcomes,” Professor Samuel said today.

The estimated cost of dementia to the health and aged care system is at least $4.9 billion a year1. Dementia will become the third greatest source of health and residential aged care spending within two decades, with the costs to these sectors alone reaching 1% of GDP2.

“We are calling for the Government to implement a comprehensive, funded national strategy with measurable outcomes, which builds on existing areas of success to develop a strategic, collaborative and cost effective response to dementia.

“Three in ten people over 85 and almost one in ten over 65 have dementia3, with an estimated 1.2 million Australians involved in their care4. Dementia is undeniably a National Health Priority which needs a targeted, outcomes focused, funded strategy. We are looking to work with government to do all we can to provide support and care for this growing number of Australians whose lives are touched by dementia,” Professor Samuel said.

Alzheimer’s Australia is asking the Government to invest $101.6 million over three years towards:

  • Increasing awareness to reduce stigma and social isolation associated with dementia
  • Risk reduction strategies which look to partner with other health promotion campaigns sharing common risk factors
  • Timely diagnosis, to connect people with dementia to the support and services they need sooner
  • A coordinated approach to post-diagnosis care and support
  • Initiatives to improve the quality of care for people with dementia
  • End-of-life care to support the choices of people with end-stage dementia
  • Investment in dementia research and support for consumer involvement in dementia research.

“This integrated approach to dementia has the potential to reduce costs to the health and aged care system through delayed placement in residential care and reduced need for crisis intervention and more importantly, this investment will improve the quality of life for the increasing number of people with dementia and their families, whom we at Alzheimer’s Australia are here to serve,” Professor Samuel said.

Read Dementia Australia’s full 2016-17 Budget Submission here.
 

1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia.

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

3 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia.

4 Alzheimer’s Australia, (2011) Pfizer Health Report Issue #45- Dementia, Pfizer Australia.

 

Media enquiries:

Bianca Armytage | 0407 019 430 | bianca.armytage@dementia.org.au


Alzheimer’s Australia is the peak body representing people with dementia and 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)
Dementia is a National Health Priority Area


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