The Morrison Government will invest $102 million to expand, strengthen and enhance Australia’s National Dementia Support Program.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck said ensuring access to high quality and effective support for those living with dementia, their families and carers was a priority.
Between 386,200 and 472,000 people are living with dementia across the country, with an additional 1.6 million people caring for them.
“This funding underpins the Morrison Government’s focus to ensure our most vulnerable loved ones receive the high-quality personalised care they deserve,” Minister Colbeck said.
“It also more than doubles annual funding for the program and will be delivered by Dementia Australia.”
The investment means the National Dementia Helpline will start 24/7 operations ensuring support is only a phone call away at any time of the day or night, increasing the total volume of calls from around 35,000 up to 80,000 a year.
The expanded and enhanced support program will also deliver:
- Improved access to counselling, post-diagnostic support programs, education sessions, support groups, and peer mentoring for coaching, advice and carer support to around 30,000 people.
- Outbound call support following up with people recently diagnosed with dementia and their carers to connect them to information and services as early as possible;
- A targeted campaign to GPs and clinicians so people with dementia get access to more timely diagnosis and ongoing support; and
- counselling and other supports for up to 15,000 people diagnosed with dementia each year, and their carers.
“This investment will improve the lives of people living with dementia right across the nation,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The recent Dementia in Australia 2021 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare clearly demonstrates the increasing significance of dementia as a health, aged care and societal issue.
“The Government is driving aged care reforms and investing in targeted and more widely available services and programs for people living with dementia, their families and carers.”
Dementia was one of four areas of concern for immediate action identified in the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Recommendation 15 focused on the establishment of a comprehensive, clear and accessible post-diagnosis support pathway for people living with dementia, their carers and families.
“Dementia Australia provides invaluable support to people living with dementia, their families, carers and friends so that they can have the best quality of life possible,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The Government’s funding means Dementia Australia can expand, enhance its reach and continue to deliver life-changing services.
“As well as providing practical and helpful assistance, this program also gives social support so people living with dementia feel included and valued in their local communities while living fulfilling lives.”
The 2021 Budget allocated $229.4 million to improve the quality of life and care for people living with dementia.
For more information about the National Dementia Support Program, please visit Dementia Australia at www.dementia.org.au.