17 August 2015

Creating dementia friendly communities: Increased public awareness

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Improving outcomes for people living with dementia is a key priority across Australia for aged care providers, healthcare and government.
With over 342,000 people currently living with dementia in Australia, service providers must take an innovative and integrated approach to caring for people living with dementia to ensure a high quality of life is maintained.
Dementia care is at the forefront of the public agenda at the moment with both funding and public awareness increasing. There are a number of factors contributing to the increased awareness including higher diagnosis numbers, as Michele Lewis outlines:

“The number of people being diagnosed with dementia, particularly early onset dementia, is increasing. With this comes an increasing awareness of the illness and its debilitating effects on a range of people’s lives including the family, friends, workplace and of course the person themselves.  Better awareness, knowledge and insight into the illness is required. The current consumer is more informed and interested to exercise choice in decision making”

Therese Adami adds that the pending boom in ageing population has elevated the national focus on dementia:

“We are starting to understand that hospitals, hostels and residential care facilities are not the ideal place for someone with dementia (unless they are dementia friendly and designed well). Most people wish to remain in comfort of own home. The familiarity and routine is even more important when people experience cognitive decline. Dementia is of great concern due to ageing population and expected increase in prevalence over next 30 years, rising to more than 900,000 people living with dementia by 2050. As baby boomers reach retirement age and start considering their needs, it is driving more awareness and understanding of the challenges.”

Lenore de la Perrelle concurs:
“Three drivers are moving together at present. With the increasing incidence of dementia in the foreseeable future there is a growing need for more care. 70% of people with dementia live in the community and want to remain living in their home. At the same time fewer family members are able to provide support due to work commitments and dispersed families.  There is also greater awareness of the factors that improve quality of life and stronger advocacy by people with dementia and their families for quality dementia care. More of the same is not an option."

Providing transparency in options and costs offers choice and ways to negotiate the contributions that can help as the condition changes over time. It can promote abilities and retain skills for living longer.”
Michele Lewis, Therese Adami and Lenore de la Perrelle will be speaking at the upcoming Dementia Strategy Summit in Sydney this October. This conference is brought to you by Akolade in conjunction with Alzheimer's Australia.
Having unfulfilled her childhood dream of becoming an international spy, Ellise is loving her position as Conference Production Manager at Akolade. Her favourite thing about the role is that it allows her to stay abreast of the latest news across a variety of industries while constantly learning from experts in their field.

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