Alzheimer’s Australia is hoping that new figures on how many people are living with dementia in Australia – and the costs associated with their care – will be a “very big wake-up call” for the government to do more on this issue.
The new figures were released in February 2017 in a report titled The economic cost of dementia in Australia 2016-2056.
They are an increase on previous estimates – now just over 400,000 people are living with dementia in Australia (compared with 353,000 in earlier estimates), and the cost of this is $14 billion per year.
The report also estimates how many people will be living with dementia in Australia in 40 years’ time, and the costs to the Australian economy over the coming 40 years.
It includes calculations of the savings that could be made if there was just a 5 per cent reduction in incidence in dementia in the future, and to the savings that could be made through technological advances and reduced hospitalisation.
Alzheimer’s Australia National President Professor Graeme Samuel AC said, “The time for action is now. If we don’t do something now, the cost is going to continue to grow to unsustainable levels.”
Alzheimer’s Australia is pushing for a national dementia strategy with committed funding. It is calling on the government to take immediate action on funding:
- for a more comprehensive risk reduction program
- to develop a consumer-based Quality in Dementia Care program to improve aged care services, both in residential aged care and in the community
- to improve access to quality respite care to better support people with dementia living in the community, their families and carers.
The Alzheimer’s Australia press release in relation to this report is here.