Dementia Australia welcomes new funding targeted at improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities living with dementia released by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the $14 million allocated by the government, as part of the $200 million Boosting Dementia Research initiative, would help to tackle the rising challenge of dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“From physical fitness to brain training, this research funding is expected to generate information that will translate directly into improved health outcomes and a better quality of life for Aboriginal Australians living with dementia, and Dementia Australia welcomes the Turnbull Government’s commitment,” she said.
“There is a lack of national data on the prevalence of dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However over the past two decades, a number of studies have been conducted across the country into the prevalence of dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The results have revealed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience dementia at a rate three to five times higher than the general Australian population.
“Despite the fact that higher rates of the disease have been reported in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it still goes largely unrecognised in communities and by health workers and service providers.”
Dementia also affects Indigenous Australians at an earlier age than the general population, with a relatively larger proportion of Indigenous Australians in the 45 to 69 year age group of people with dementia.
“While research funding forms a crucial component of our response to dementia among our first elders, it is also essential that we address the allocation of resources and funding to take action on the lifestyle risk factors associated with dementia, as well as access to culturally appropriate services and supports,” Ms McCabe said.
“A better understanding of dementia by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities, health workers and service providers is essential if the gap in health outcomes between the general population and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is to close.
“I’d like to congratulate and thank the grant recipients for their commitment to dementia research. I look forward to the results of the research and the difference it will make to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their carers, families and community,” she said.