" The challenge is big, but people across Australia want to see real political leadership on this issue "
2016 Federal election campaign – People with dementia deserve to live well

With the 2016 Federal election campaign underway, Alzheimer’s Australia has developed an election strategy to ensure that dementia is on the agenda for all political parties. While there were no significant dementia policy announcements in the 2016-17 Federal Budget, Alzheimer’s Australia continues to strengthen its advocacy work to ensure that the issues for people with dementia, their families and their carers are a priority in the election campaign.

Alzheimer’s Australia is seeking commitment from candidates to establish a funded National Dementia Strategy based on the priorities set out by people with dementia and their carers. This National Dementia Strategy was a key recommendation of the 2016 Alzheimer’s Australia National Consumer Summit held in March at Parliament House, Canberra. The priorities were developed through the voices of more than 70 consumers and their carers who attended the summit and shared their concerns.

A staggering nine in 10 Australians want the Government to tackle the growing dementia challenge, new research has found, yet there is still no national, funded strategy to address this increasing public health issue.

A recent public survey Alzheimer’s Australia has undertaken with Roy Morgan Research to find out what the public really think about dementia also found that seven out of 10 Australians have been impacted by dementia in some way :

  •  35% have a close family member who has/had dementia
  •  25% have an extended family member who has/had dementia
  •  10% have a close friend who has/had dementia
  •  12% have helped care or support someone who has/had dementia.

There is estimated to be more than 353,800 Australians living with dementia, which is expected to soar to almost 900,000 people by 2050 .

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said clearly dementia is a major priority for voters this federal election.

“Dementia is the second leading cause of death in this country, people with dementia and their carers need to see effective dementia policies from all sides of Government to address this condition that is set to outstrip all other health spending by 2060 ,” Ms Bennett said.

“Alzheimer’s Australia has been calling for Government to address dementia. We need a co-ordinated strategy, a national plan that addresses the issues that arise from early symptoms, diagnosis, care and support, risk reduction, home care and respite, aged care and end-of-life-care, and to continue to support research in the hope of one day finding a cure. The challenge is big, but as this new survey highlights, people across Australia want to see real political leadership on this issue.”

As a first step Alzheimer’s Australia is asking all political parties to commit to addressing and funding:

  •  $1.3 million to make Australia a more dementia-friendly place for people with dementia
  •  $15 million per annum for dementia-specific respite services
  •  $1 million per annum to improve quality of care in aged care – led by consumers.

Only one in four Australians surveyed felt confident that high quality services would be available in the event they needed to find an aged care facility for themselves or a family member with dementia. Four in five felt the Government should be providing information (such as ratings) about the quality of life of residents in aged care facilities.

To find out more about how dementia impacts your federal electorate, head here for a full list of dementia prevalence estimates for each federal electoral division in NSW.

To see the full Alzheimer’s Australia Federal Election Campaign brief and other related documents, head here.

 Posted: June 2nd, 2016
Discussion

Dementia Daily Team said:

Hi Francine, I am sorry to hear about your sister. Please do feel free to call our staff on the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. It is a free call and they may be able to help you with some strategies. I do hope things improve for you. Good luck.

Francine said:

My sister was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers at 65. She is now 66 and is 20 years younger than the other residents in the aged care hostel she is now a permanent resident of. They do their best, however, there are not enough activities to keep my sister engaged and NO activities on the weekend. I am in constant contact with NY sister via text messaging and phone calls. She depends on me for keeping her in touch with what day of the week it is, what activities she has on that day, taking her to medical appointments, shopping for clothes and incidentals, making sure she isn't consuming anything from her own fge that has not 'expired', reporting incidents to management where she has felt intimidated if treated inappropriately, visiting her before or after work each day to maintain her confidence, attending to all legal and financial matters, spending every weekend with her and organising activities outside of the hostel, to name a few... I have to work full time to support myself and have no family support in Sydney. People who say they will visit my sister regularly give up after the first visit as they lack the patience and sensitivity needed to understand both my sister and the disease. This puts me under enormous pressure. I am now facing possible knee surgery and fear she will deteriorate ling before her time if I have to reduce NY involvement. It is cruel beyond words and yet I get NO recognition as a carer because my sister is already "in care", even though this is not a dementia specific facility, nor is it a "secure" facility so my heart is constantly in my mouth because I know she goes out during the day and sometimes forgets that just because she has pressed the button at the lights it doesn't mean she can start crossing the road.... I am a nervous wreck....

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Call the National Dementia Helpline: 1800 100 500