Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes the expansion of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the increased investment in My Aged Care infrastructure and additional aged care places but is disappointed the budget announcement does not include any new or additional funding for dementia to support the 413,1061 people currently living with the condition or the 1.2 million people2 involved in their care.
The Dementia and Aged Care Services fund, which supports the exploration of innovative new service models, is expected to be decreased from $91.39 million in 2016-17 to $76.14 million in 2017-18.
Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Maree McCabe said, "Although this is offset to some degree by a focus on preventive health and other research investment, it may not be enough to ameliorate the impact of dementia in the longer-term."
The recent NATSEM report commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia, The Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056, found that if nothing is done to reduce the incidence of dementia, the cost will blow out to more than $18 billion by 2025, in today’s dollars, and more than double to $36 billion in less than 40 years as the number of people with dementia soars, from an estimated 413,000 people in 2017, to 536,000 people by 2025 and a staggering 1.1 million people by 2056.
The NATSEM report found that just a five per cent reduction in the number of people developing dementia over the age of 65 could lead to savings of $5.7 billion from 2016-25, and a staggering $120.4 billion by 2056.
"A whole-of-community approach to risk reduction, and better co-ordinated care, along with a boost to research, is going to be needed if we are to curb the rise in people living with dementia by 2056," Ms McCabe said.
"We remain optimistic that we can continue to work closely with the Federal Government to ensure the quality of life of all people impacted by dementia is improved through a range of health, disability and aged care measures."
Ms McCabe also said that, while people with dementia will always need to be supported by mainstream services, it must be recognised that although dementia is a core part of aged care, it is not enough to rely on the provision of mainstream services to adequately provide for the needs of people with dementia.
"Instead, there must be an approach that combines building capacity in mainstream services to provide quality care for people with dementia, along with the integration of specialist dementia services to support mainstream services where required."
Alzheimer’s Australia is the charity for people with dementia and their families and carers. As the peak body, it provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 413,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than 1.1 million in 40 years.
National Dementia Helpline: 1800 100 500
An interpreter service is available
(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)
Dementia is a National Health Priority Area www.fightdementia.org.au
Bianca Armytage / 0407 019 430 / Bianca.Armytage@alzheimers.org.au