Federal Government commits to expand National Dementia Support Program

The Federal Government has made a $102 million commitment to expand and enhance the National Dementia Support Program provided by Dementia Australia.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM welcomes the significant increase in funding that will enable the expansion of access to services like counselling, post-diagnostic support programs, early intervention programs and education sessions.

“For the first time we will also be able to expand the operating hours of the National Dementia Helpline to be 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week,” says Ms McCabe.

“The National Dementia Helpline, 1800 100 500, is a vital first point of contact for people with any concerns about their own or a loved one’s cognition, for anyone who is experiencing symptoms, and for any Australian needing support or information to access early diagnosis and support.”

Bobby Redman, Chair of the Dementia Australia Advisory Committee, who lives with dementia says knowing that you’re not alone and having somewhere to turn to at a time of need was so important in reducing fears and increasing the ability to cope.

“The ability to increase the National Dementia Helpline to 24/7 is a major breakthrough that will ensure help will be there whenever it is needed,” says Ms Redman.

The National Dementia Helpline will be available to anyone living with dementia, their families and carers, at any time for any questions, information, support and to connect people to other services and support including My Aged Care, The Carer Gateway and the Dementia Behaviour Advisory Service.

“Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is overwhelming news for any individual and for family and friends,” says Ms McCabe.

“Accessing supports immediately after diagnosis is vital for people impacted to learn how to live well and independently with dementia.

“It is also important for GPs, geriatricians, nurses and allied health professionals to know the National Dementia Helpline is there to assist them when they are supporting their patients.”

Expanding the operating hours of the National Dementia Helpline means more people will be able to get critical support and information at times to suit them.

“This, along with the other additional support services being rolled out as part of the increased investment in the National Dementia Support Program will go a long way towards improving the lives of people living with dementia and their carers,” says Ms Redman.

“It is great news that the government is recognising more, the needs of those of us living with dementia and has provided Dementia Australia with the funds to build on the National Dementia Support Program.”

Ms McCabe said Dementia Australia welcomes the extra injection of funds from the Federal Government.

“This will ensure all who need it will have access to support and services from help in getting a diagnosis, after diagnosis and onwards,” she says.

“On behalf of people living with dementia, their families and carers, thank you to the Federal Government for this significant increase in funding that will make a difference for people impacted now and for so many Australians in the future.”

Currently, the National Dementia Helpline operates from 8am-8pm, from Monday-Friday, excluding public holidays. The expanded operating hours are expected to start from March.

More information about the National Dementia Helpline service can be found at dementia.org.au/helpline.

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