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Dementia Awareness Week: three new resources including one for younger onset dementia.

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Minister for Ageing

MEDIA RELEASE September 18, 2008 Dementia Awareness Week - three new resources including one for younger onset dementia The Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot today launched three new $600,000 dementia training resources - as part of Dementia Awareness Week - including one to assist in supporting the care of those with younger onset dementia. More than 200,000 Australians currently live with dementia; of those, there are about 10,000 people with younger onset dementia. In addition, the number of people with dementia is set to increase to almost 465,000 by 2031. Mrs Elliot joined Alzheimer’s Australia and the Parliamentary Friends of Dementia in Canberra today to officially launch Dementia Awareness Week (19-26 September 2008). The Australian Government is the principal sponsor of Dementia Awareness Week and the theme for Dementia Awareness Week is ‘Mind your Mind - and reduce the risk of dementia’. “Preventing dementia is one of the challenges facing our nation’s ageing population,” Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot said. “There is growing evidence that healthy eating, intellectual stimulation, exercise and the prevention of cardio-vascular risk factors reduce the risk of developing dementia,” Mrs Elliot said. The Rudd Government has committed $120 million a year for the ongoing support for the National Dementia Initiative. This includes: - $90 million a year for Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia Packages; - $24 million a year for dementia research, prevention, early intervention and improved care, including research grants offered through the National Health and Medical Research Council and funding for three Dementia Collaborative Research Centres; and - $7 million for training for aged and community care staff, carers and community workers such as police. The three dementia training resources developed at a cost of $600,000 - as part of the Australian Government’s Dementia Initiative - are: • ‘Local Knowledge: A dementia care e-learning resource for rural and remote aged care workers’ focuses on people living in regional Australia;

• ‘Strangers in a Strange Land: Cultural Competence in Dementia Care’ focuses on people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; and • ‘2 Young 4 Dementia - Meeting the Needs of People with Younger Onset Dementia’ to support improved dementia awareness and care for younger people with dementia,

their carers and families in a variety of work and care environments.

These resources will be rolled out across Australia over the next three months to training providers.

Copies of these free resources can be ordered by email

Younger onset dementia

The term younger onset dementia is used to describe any form of dementia diagnosed in people under the age of sixty-five.

Dementia in younger people is much less common than dementia affecting people over the age of sixty-five and may be difficult to diagnose. However, correct diagnosis is important.

The most common cause of younger onset dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Other types of dementia such as frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, acquired brain injury, and alcohol related dementias are more common in younger onset dementia than in those with dementia who are over the age of sixty-five.

Several types of younger onset dementia are hereditary. Genetic screening may therefore be considered by family members in certain situations.

The person with younger onset dementia and their family and carers face additional challenges to those faced by older people with dementia due the stage of life they are in.

For more information, contact Mrs Elliot's office on (02) 6277 7280