02 November 2016

The future of Dementia Care in Australia

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Last week Akolade proudly hosted the 2nd Annual Dementia Strategy Summit at Le Montage in Sydney. Bringing together the researchers, industry leaders and Dementia suffers for an in-depth 2 day conversation about the second leading cause of death in Australia.

In a September press release from Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon. Key Wyatt AM, MP it was revealed there is a person diagnosed with Dementia  - a group of conditions, which effects over 350,000 Australians and 46 million people worldwide - every 3 seconds worldwide.

The staggering amount of people with dementia is expected to continue on this trajectory, with an estimated 400,000 Australian's expected to be diagnosed with Dementia and almost 900,000 Australians by 2050.

"Dementia has life altering consequences , not only for the person living with it, but it also has a heavy toll on their family and friends," the Assistant Minister said. 

"It is important that if you notice a loved one acting out of the ordinary, showing symptoms of confusion, memory loss, and personality changes that you know help is available."

Dementia is the leading cause of disability in Australians aged 65 years and over, however it doesn't discriminate, striking at any age. 

"Alzheimer's disease affects a person's thinking, behaviour, memory and the ability to perform everyday task. The early signs of Alzheimer's disease and more broadly dementia are very subtle and can sometimes go unnoticed for months or years," the Minister said. 

The Australian Government recently provided $3.9 million to Alzheimer's Australia to provide a Dementia Friendly Communities program.

The program delivers community awareness programs to give people an increased understanding of dementia and the support services available. 

"All communities have the potential to support people living with dementia to maintain independence, dignity, a sense of purpose and to live in an environment of their choosing for a long as possible,' said Alzheimer's Australia National CEO Maree McCabe following the announcement of the funding.

The program will work directly and collaboratively with people living with dementia and their carers will be central to the quality, design and development of the Dementia Friendly Communities program, building on an existing pilot and state/territory based dementia friendly community work.

World Dementia Council member, Dementia Alliance International Chair, CEO and co-Founder and Alzheimer's Australia Dementia Advisory Committee chair, Kate Swaffer - who is living with early onset dementia and was involved in the Kiama dementia friendly pilot project in NSW, the only Dementia Friendly Community initiative in the world to have been recognized for it's work by the World Health said;

"A Dementia Friendly Communities program would have a positive impact on the community and people who are living with dementia within that community. We've seen those positive impacts in Kiama, mostly due to the setting up of a Local Dementia Advisory Group made up of people with dementia and their supporters, to full inform and guide the project. A person living with dementia is still the same person they were before receiving the diagnosis - and they have a human right,like anyone else with a disability, to continue to live a full-life with as much support as needed to remain as independent as possible."

Akolade's commitment to furthering the discussion around dementia services is unwavering and we're already focused on the 2017 programme, the dates of which will be released in the new year. 

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy.

Mike’s most recently published story, Seeds of Eden, is featured in the Sproutlings Anthology released in March 2016. 

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