Territorians with dementia need more support

28 Nov 2017

Mr Shorten nominated tackling dementia as the defining health and aged care challenge of the next 20 years

COTA NT, the peak body for seniors in the Northern Territory, welcomed last week’s commitment by the Opposition Leader, Hon Bill Shorten MP, to improving the quality of life and care for Australians living with dementia and investing further in research to find a cure.

Mr Shorten spoke at the University of Sydney recently and nominated tackling dementia as the defining health and aged care challenge of the next 20 years. COTA NT welcomes the focus and the in-principle commitments of the Opposition Leader to make Australia the best country in the world for people with dementia to live and to be a global leader in finding a cure.

The statistics are very frightening. Potentially one in three Australians born today will be diagnosed with dementia – there is an economic, as well as a social imperative to better this growing issue. This means that more than 500,000 Australians will have dementia by 2025 and in the next five years, it is predicted dementia will become the leading cause of death for all Australians.

While our country’s scientific and medical researchers are working to find a cure, it is important that people living with dementia and their families are provided access to the highest quality of life and care.

COTA NT agrees that older Australians, and indeed Territorians with dementia need better quality and more suitable aged care, to be better supported by better trained and supported staff, and that we need a change in community attitudes, both to caring work and to older people as a whole.

Is the Territory geared up for this increase in the number of dementia patients? They will either receive residential aged care, or (the more preferred option) stay as long as possible in their preferred environment. Currently, there are more than 53,000 Australians on a waiting list for home care packages and many more are receiving a package of support below the level for which they have been accessed. This can be directly related back to the 95,000 job vacancies in the aged care industry around Australia.

Sue Shearer, CEO COTA NT


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