The Australian Greens have announced a new initiative to invest $120 million into dementia research over the next three years and provide more choice and control for patients when it comes to the care they receive.
"Dementia affects more than 300,000 Australians, their families and their friends, and the number of Australians with dementia will significantly increase in coming years," Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
"This initiative is an important part of our platform to care for older Australians. A caring community treats its older people with dignity and respect, and provides support services so that they can remain healthy, happy and safe in their own homes and communities.
"Dementia care and research are two key areas that relate to the health and well-being of older Australians. We will invest $120 million over three years into dementia research to begin to address the gaps in our knowledge.
"Research is critical to better understanding the causes of dementia and finding better treatments and ways to support people with the condition. This initiative will significantly boost dementia research and improve the lives of patients, their families and carers.
"We will also support development of a National Dementia Action Framework, with measurable goals to build on the announcement of dementia as the Ninth National Health Priority Area. This will ensure that progress is made to improve areas such as diagnosis waiting times and the ability of hospital staff to recognise and respond to dementia.
"Respite care is vital for supporting family members and loved ones who provide care for people with dementia. Carers, both paid and unpaid, are an integral part of our dementia care system. Our initiative will oversee the creation of dementia specific respite, to address the unmet need for respite care that currently exists.
"Dementia is increasingly being recognised as a significant health issue for older Australians, the growing numbers of older Australians means there is now greater focus on the ageing agenda. Our initiative will ensure that the recent reforms to aged care deliver greater choice and control over care for people diagnosed with dementia. This includes support for in-home care, and ensuring that young people with dementia have age appropriate support.
"We will further enhance the quality of care people receive by ensuring training and support is delivered so that people receive respectful, person-centred care. This is particularly important for those people with complex behavioural needs.
"Delaying the onset of dementia by five years would reduce the number of people living with the condition in 2050 by one third and dramatically improve the quality of life for many thousands of people.
"Individuals, families and communities are all affected by dementia - it is essential that long term planning and investment decisions are made now, in order to ensure that we are prepared for the increase in cases in coming years," Senator Siewert concluded.