People living with dementia, families and carers must be at the center of the federal budget COVID recovery plan

Dementia Australia calls on the federal government to ensure that people living with dementia are sufficiently supported in next month’s 2020-2021 federal budget announcement in light of the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dementia Australia Chief Executive Maree McCabe said that this year’s unprecedented social distancing measures and restrictions due to COVID-19 have had significant and unintended consequences on people living with dementia, their families and on those who take care of it.

“Dementia Australia is experiencing increased demand for support due to these unintended consequences of extended and increased social distancing and isolation,” Ms. McCabe said.

“The mental health of people living with dementia suffers a significant impact, resulting in decline in cognitive functioning and loss of ability for many, as a result of changes in routine, lack of mental stimulation and social isolation. These are skills that many people with dementia will not be able to recover. There is also a subsequent flow impact for caregivers.

“The 459,000 Australians living with dementia are already one of the most vulnerable groups in our community and it is important that COVID-19 and its long-term impact do not inadvertently add to the challenge that dementia symptoms already present to many people. ”

Based on reported experiences from people affected by dementia and service providers, Dementia Australia outlined a pre-budget presentation that will address the mental health challenges informal caregivers are experiencing, addressing the trajectory of cognitive decline that people are experiencing. living with dementia and supporting aged care providers to strengthen the ability of their staff to provide quality care for dementia.

“The impact of the second wave of COVID-19, particularly on Victorian residential aged care services, has exacerbated existing challenges in the aged care system, including workforce capacity, clinical governance and the challenge of balance the individual care and welfare needs of residents with the safety of all who live or work in the service, ”Ms. McCabe said.

“With an investment of just over $ 7.4 million in 2020-21, the federal government can alleviate some of these negative impacts by ensuring that those affected by dementia receive early awareness and intervention, online social support and quality care in residential care facilities for the elderly.

“The prevalence of dementia in residential aged care settings is significant: recent data suggest that just over two thirds of all people living in aged care homes have moderate to severe cognitive impairment1. With this high prevalence, anyone who is deployed and trained to provide care not only needs to be trained in infection control, but also in the basics of dementia care. ”

Initiatives outlined in Dementia Australia’s 2020-21 federal pre-budget presentation include dementia training seminars for aged care staff and communities of practice where leaders from aged care organizations across the country will be supported to improve outcomes for people with dementia through professional networking.

“We look forward to working with the federal government to improve the quality of support and care provided to all people affected by dementia,” said Ms. McCabe.

Dementia Australia’s 2020-21 federal pre-budget presentation can be viewed here.

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Dementia Australia is the leading national charity for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. Provides support, support services, education and information. An estimated 459,000 people suffer from dementia in Australia. This number is expected to reach nearly 1.1 million by 2058. Dementia Australia’s services are supported by the Australian government.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

Interpreter service available

(The National Dementia Helpline is an initiative of the Australian government)

/ Public release.

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