Connecting older people during tough times

Media Release

30 April, 2020

Dementia peak body welcomes funding to support isolated older Australians during COVID-19 pandemic

Dementia Australia has welcomed an announcement by the federal government to provide $1 million in grants for community organisations to provide digital devices to older Australians through the Be Connected program.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said these grants will provide devices such as a laptop or iPad to up to 3500 older Australians who would otherwise be at risk of disconnecting during the pandemic.

“People living with dementia are one of the most vulnerable groups in society at this time and the current environment may have a greater impact on their levels of engagement,” Ms McCabe said.

“If positive stimulus is reduced for people living with dementia, the loss of cognitive function can escalate, and over time it is likely these losses will not be able to be regained.

“Technology and digital devices can help to ensure it doesn’t have to be that way. They provide opportunities to continue engagement and communication, which is especially important for the wellbeing of people living with dementia.

“These grants will not only make it easier to keep connected with family and friends, but also to sign up to online learning including webinars.

“With 70 per cent of the 459,000 Australians with dementia living in the community, technology can ensure those who may be more physically isolated or vulnerable are not socially disconnected or alone.

“We are all physically isolating, but it does not mean we have to feel socially isolated.

“We look forward to working closely with the federal government and community organisations to ensure people of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers are supported during this time.”

For more information in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) visit dementia.org.au/an-update-from-dementia-australia or call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

Source: dementia australia.

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