What is dementia?Dementia is not a single specific disease. It is an umbrella term describing a syndrome associated with more than 100 different diseases that are characterised by the impairment of brain functions, including language, memory, perception, personality and cognitive skills. Although the type and severity of symptoms and their pattern of development varies with the type of dementia, it is usually of gradual onset, progressive in nature and irreversible.
In 2011, there was an estimated 298,000 people living with dementia in Australia. Among Australians aged 65 and over, almost 1 in 10 (9%) had dementia. And among those aged 85 and over, 3 in 10 (30%) had dementia. As Australia's population ages, more people will be affected by dementia.
With the projected rise of Australia's aged population, it is estimated the number of people living with dementia is projected to triple to around 900,000 by 2050. Dementia is one of the major reasons why older people enter residential aged care or seek assistance from community care programs.
Dementia can also occur in younger people. The term Younger Onset Dementia refers to people aged under 65 who are living with dementia. In 2011 there was an estimated 23,900 Australians living with younger on set dementia.
Dementia was the third leading cause of death in 2010, with 9,003 deaths recorded across Australia. For people aged 65 and over, dementia was the second leading cause of burden of disease and the leading cause of disability burden.
Types of Dementia
Information on the different types of dementiaThere are over 100 illnesses and conditions that can cause dementia. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's disease.
Other types of dementia include:
- Vascular Dementia - the second most common type of dementia. It is associated with problems in the flow of blood to the brain;
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies;
- Korsakoff’s Syndrome (Alcohol related dementia);
- Dementia with Parkinson’s Disease; and
- Huntington’s Disease.
National Framework for Action on Dementia 2013-2017The National Framework for Action on Dementia 2013-2017 (the new Framework) is currently being developed by the Dementia Working Group.
Public consultation sessions to inform the development of the new Framework were conducted in each capital city and in Cairns and Lismore from 24 April 2013 to 17 May 2013.
Dementia the ninth National Health Priority AreaOn 10 August 2012, the Australian Health Ministers recognised dementia as the ninth National Health Priority Area.
Flexible FundFor further information on the fund, visit the Department of Health and Ageing website.
- Information for people with dementia, their families and carers
- Support for people with dementia, their families and carers
- The Dementia and Cognition Supplement in Home Care Packages
- The Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement in Residential Aged Care
- The Veterans' Supplement in Home Care Packages and
- The Veterans' Supplement in Residential Aged Care.
For further information, visit the living longer living better website.
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