Health

Dementia system fails

JESSICA SHORT

Alzheimer’s Australia chief executive officer Frank Schaper says the acute care system is failing people with dementia in Australia.

“We put the most vulnerable people in the hands of people who have great compassion but little training,” said Mr Schaper who speaks in the attached video.

“We have a concern about the capacity of primary and acute care systems to meet the needs of people with dementia.

“There are simply not enough resources being put towards the fight against dementia.”

The statistics are alarming. There are 78,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease reported each year in Australia.

Mr Schaper says there is a ‘great strategy of avoidance’ when it comes to governments doing something about dementia.

“There are signs that the government is less inclined to spend money put money into it,” he said.

“This will be a disaster because I think it is probably one of the biggest health epidemics that we have faced for a long time and it is not going to go away.”

Bethany Walton says that soon after her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease he moved into her family home.

“The difficult thing with living with someone with dementia is treating the person with respect as an adult even though you are having to care for the person as if they were a child,” said Ms Walton who also speaks in the attached video.

She said that despite the challenges of caring for someone with dementia her best memories of her grandfather were formed at that time.

Social worker Patricia Jones is at the forefront of aged care in Western Australia.

“The aged care sector needs a boost in government funding and support,” Ms Jones said.

“The Federal and State Government[s] need to encourage people to take up work in the social services field.

“The shortage of trained carers is a great concern to many members of the community who have family members in nursing homes.”

Ms Jones said there was a lack of funding and of awareness about the need for qualified carers in both nursing homes and in the community.

She said that to enable people with dementia to live in their own homes more carers were needed to provide in-home assistance

Evidence showed that people with dementia benefited much more living at home when compared to those placed in aged care facilities.

Not all families choose to put their family members with dementia in nursing homes.

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