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Improvements to dementia support are on the way

The 2016 Ministerial Dementia Forum report has been released and has highlighted how support for people living with dementia can be improved.

Report highlights how support for people living with dementia can be improved (Source: Shutterstock)
Report highlights how support for people living with dementia can be improved (Source: Shutterstock)

Held in December last year, the forum supplied feedback which highlighted the need for inclusive communities, timely diagnosis, additional assistance in navigating the service system, ongoing support and services across the various stages of dementia, and additional supports for carers.

Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt says the report will contribute to the current redesign of dementia support.

“The overwhelming message from the forum was that effective and accessible dementia support must be closely integrated with the broader aged care, health and social service systems,” he says.

“To get this right we need to link the range of existing services and communicate with people living with dementia and their families the options that are available to them.”

Alzheimer’s Australia National Chief Executive Officer Maree McCabe says she acknowledges the Government for taking on board the voices of people living with dementia, their families and carers.

“The report’s release is timely, given that the number of people living with dementia in Australia is more than 413,000 and that this number is expected to increase,” she says.

“While consumers are clear that support for those living with dementia needs to be more closely integrated, the success of this seamless services environment must be underpinned by an ongoing investment in such elements as workforce education and training, and robust frameworks. This also needs to be supplemented by more specialised dementia supports until the broader service sector matures.

“We know that an ongoing focus on targeted supports is needed and this report is one step closer in helping to shape a comprehensive national response.

“We welcome the opportunity to position Australia’s response to dementia within a global context and we look forward to working with the Government and people living with dementia, their families and carers to ensure there is ongoing access to appropriate and timely support services.”

Minister Wyatt says the Forum was the first step in specific consultations for the redesign of supports for people with dementia and their carers, and that these consultations will continue into the second half of 2017.

“The redesign aims to make accessing services easier,” Minister Wyatt says.

“The Australian Government is committed to getting the best result for people with dementia and their carers and will continue consulting with stakeholders.”

He added that the current services offered by Alzheimer’s Australia through the National Dementia Support Program will continue to be available while the redesign work is being done, with the new and revised program due to commence in July 2018.

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