Peak body calls for dementia vision

Dementia Australia is calling on all political parties and candidates to make dementia a priority in their vision for Australia ahead of the upcoming federal election on May 18.

Dementia Australia Chair Professor Graeme Samuel AC says the royal commission into aged care quality and safety is underway and presents a significant opportunity to transform the industry to make a profound and lasting difference to the lives of all people impacted by dementia.

“This process will take time and we need urgent action today for the people living with dementia, and their families and carers, who are not receiving the care and support they need and deserve,” he said.

The costs of dementia to the nation are rising. In 2019, dementia is estimated to cost Australia more than $15.5 billion, with an expected increase to more than $36.8 billion by 2056.

Dementia Australia seeks commitment in the forthcoming election from all parties to address three integral components that will create an inclusive future where all people impacted by dementia receive appropriate care and support.

These include:

  • Developing a clear pathway for diagnosis and support.
  • Defining quality standards in dementia care.
  • Reducing discrimination.

“These priorities embrace a range of transformative initiatives that span a range of sectors and can become a reality with a total investment of $30 million over three years,” Professor Samuel said.

“They are the result of a year of extensive community consultation, where we asked people living with dementia, their families and carers what the biggest issues were for them, and how Dementia Australia can have the biggest impact.”

Danijela Hlis, dementia advocate, daughter and former care partner said: “Quality care is more than good symptom control and emotional support. It’s recognising and meeting the needs of the person living with dementia.”

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe believes the organisation cannot achieve these goals in isolation.

“With 447,000 Australians living with dementia, a generalised approach to health, disability and aged care reform is not enough,” she said. “Dementia is not yet core business and requires specific attention to make it so.

“A wide range of evidence comprehensively demonstrates that the care provided to people living with dementia is worse than the care delivered to any other vulnerable group.

“Our vision is to work with all federal political parties and candidates to elevate the issues relating to dementia and to improve the lives of people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers.

“During this election campaign we will be asking all candidates to articulate their vision for dementia.”

To get involved in the campaign and engage political candidates this election, access the dementia Australia action pack at: https://www.dementia.org.au/engaging-your-local-candidate-this-election

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