In Health

Victoria Minister for Ageing David Davis

Minister Welcomes National Alzheimer’s Report

Victor P Taffa

The Victorian Minister for Ageing David Davis today welcomed the launch of the Alzheimer’s Australia national report on services for people with dementia.

“This report again affirms what has been known for years that Australia’s health and aged care services have not been adequately designed to meet the needs of rapidly increasing numbers of people with dementia, and the needs of their carers.” Mr. Davis said today.

“Alzheimer’s Australia itself has been established for decades and has made a significant contribution.”

“Governments have known for decades the growth of older Australians would bring a parallel growth in the numbers of people with dementia and yet this report now demonstrates how Commonwealth funded and regulated aged care services still fail to meet these needs.” Mr. Davis said.

“Victoria led the way in dementia care two decades ago by ensuring hospital services are tailored to meet the needs of older people through the provision of sub-acute inpatient care specifically for older people.” Mr. Davis said.

“These services, with the co-location of specific residential services, have made it possible for older Victorians to leave acute care as soon as they are well enough to do so.”

“Despite this, the Commonwealth Government has consistently failed to recognise the value of these services to older Victorians and Commonwealth funding for Victorian services has been restricted and not supported sufficient innovation.”

“More than 69,000 Victorians are living with dementia and about 56 people develop dementia every day.”

“About two thirds of Victorians with dementia live in metropolitan areas, and about 22,000 live in country areas. There are also families, carers and friends who feel the impact of dementia.”

“Alarmingly, the report by Alzheimer’s Australia estimates there will be almost 100,000 Victorians living with dementia by the year 2020 a short time away. And, for these individuals, there will be many families and carers that are also living with the impact of dementia.” Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Davis said Victoria had worked to provide adequate health and community care services for people with dementia over many years.

“The Victorian Government funds services to support people with dementia, their families and carers.” Mr. Davis said.

“Of critical importance is access to early diagnosis, advice, treatment and support and in the 1990’s Victoria established Cognitive Dementia and Memory Services (CDAMS) with 15 of these specialist clinics now providing diagnosis and treatment services for people concerned about memory loss or changes to thinking and those who support them.” Mr. Davis said.

Mr. Davis said the CDAMS were located in metropolitan and country Victoria and provided individuals and their families with a timely opportunity to learn about their condition, understand changes as they occur and cope with day-to-day issues of cognitive impairment. CDAMS can be accessed by self-referral, or through general practitioners and community services.

“It is time that governments worked together, and not competitively, to support our older Australians.” Mr. Davis said.

“The Alzheimer’s Australia report makes it clear the fragmentation and separation of services may be a factor in exacerbating the difficulties faced by people with dementia and their carers.”

“When services are inadequate, it is often acute health services, including emergency departments that patients and their families end up turning to for help.”

“It is time the Commonwealth, which has historically funded residential care for older people and shared the cost of community service supports for older people, worked positively and collaboratively with the states and territories to achieve a strong aged care system that puts people first.” Mr. Davis said.

“This report should be considered alongside last year’s report of the Productivity Commission into aged care services as clear indications that aged care reform is a national priority.”

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