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Government on target with dementia care, support.

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Senator the Hon Santo Santoro Minister for Ageing


28 July 2006 SS69/06

Government on target with dementia care, support

A report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has found a series of pilot dementia care projects succeeded in helping people to remain living longer in their own homes and communities.

The Minister for Ageing, Senator Santo Santoro, welcomed the AIHW report, saying the pilot Aged Care Innovative Pool projects, which ran over several years, helped build a better picture of the different dementia care and support options that are available.

“While Australia is a world leader in care and support for people living with dementia, there is still a lot we don’t know about this condition,” Senator Santoro said.

“Helping dementia patients to remain living in their homes and their local communities for as long as possible is an important goal, not just for the people living with dementia but for their families and carers as well.

“The different care models tested through the program were useful in advancing our knowledge of how dementia care might best be provided, and in shaping the Government’s development of new dementia support programs.”

For example, one early theme in feedback received from workers engaged in the pilot projects was the need for specialised care packages and services for people with dementia.

“The Australian Government has since provided $225.1 million over four years for the Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) program,” Senator Santoro said.

“The first 667 EACHD packages were allocated through the 2005 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR), with a further 667 advertised in 2006 and another 666 packages indicated for allocation in 2007.”

Funding for the EACHD program was part of the Commonwealth Government’s 2005 Budget commitment of $320.6 million over five years to make dementia a national health priority. This is in addition to the $2.8 billion in annual funding that the Government provided for programs that support people with dementia, and their families and carers.

“Dementia is the greatest single contributor to the burden of disease in Australia due to disability at older ages,” Senator Santoro said.

“Because the number of people with dementia is predicted to rise as our population ages, it is essential that we continue to examine new approaches to supporting people living with dementia, their families and carers if we are to meet their needs both now and in the future.”

Media contact: Malcolm Cole - 0408 612 603

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