Experts call for dementia action

Dementia Australia has expressed its disappointment with the Australian Government’s response to the Senate report into people living with dementia.

Maree McCabe, CEO of Dementia Australia, said the response, tabled in parliament last week, lacked any commitment to decisive action that would make a difference to the health and wellbeing outcomes of people living with all forms of dementia.

“We need a renewed and sustained focus on dementia for the hundreds of thousands of Australians impacted by the disease every day and to prepare for what we as a community will face in the years ahead,” Ms McCabe said.

“The care and support for people living with dementia remains the biggest social and health challenge facing Australia.

“The increase in instances of poor quality and adverse outcomes for consumers such as the experience with Oakden Older Persons Mental Health Service is evidence that the needs of people with dementia are not being fully supported through current aged care services,” Ms McCabe said.

“We were concerned to note that the draft aged care quality standards do not acknowledge or consider the high risk and prevalence of dementia and associated cognitive decline, despite more than half of all residents in residential aged care having some form of dementia and despite the clear need for providers to have specialist capacity to manage dementia appropriately.

“In the interim three years since the Senate Community Affairs Committee tabled its report and the 18 recommendations, much has changed across the dementia-care landscape, and not all of these changes have been positive.

“Dementia is now the leading cause of death of women in Australia, the second leading cause of death in this country and it is predicted to become the leading cause of death within the next five years.”

The Government response to the dementia report outlines various activities spread across the breadth and depth of the aged care, disability and mental health care systems.

Dementia Australia explains that these are complex systems and challenging to navigate for anyone in the community, let alone those with a cognitive impairment.

“People living with dementia constitute one of the most vulnerable groups in our society,” Ms McCabe said.

“People of all ages living with all forms of dementia deserve to receive appropriate and quality care and to be treated with respect and dignity.”

Do you think the Government is doing enough to care for the growing number of people suffering from dementia?

Written by Ben

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