The Minister for aging, Peter Primrose, said today that the NSW Government would continue its strong support for dementia programs, such as dementia-specific day care centers, as well as research and advocacy.
The 16th of September marks the beginning of Dementia Awareness Week, which runs until September 26.
Mr Primrose said it was concerning that the number of people in NSW affected by dementia was expected to increase from almost 80,000 at present to more than 340,000 over the next 40 years, according to an Access Economics report released late last year.
"It is imperative that we do as much as we can to support people with this condition and their families and carers," Mr Primrose said.
"Dementia is the leading single cause of disability in older Australians and is expected to become the third greatest source of health and residential aged care spending within the next 20 years."
Mr Primrose said that $653 million was being invested in 2010/11 through the Home and Community Care program to provide support to more than 234,000 people, including many with dementia.
"Under this program, growth funding for dementia specific community care services in NSW will total over $5.8 million for the 2009/10 and 2010/2011 financial years."
Mr Primrose said more than $27 million had also been provided to build 16 new dementia day care centers, eight of which are already operating. Another four centers will open this financial year.
Mr Primrose said that the Keneally Government was committed to continue its financial support for resources that helped those people who already have dementia and for research projects aimed at finding a cure for Alzheimers, which was the leading cause of dementia in Australia.
Mr Primrose said that Alzheimers accounted for between 50 and 70 per cent of all forms of dementia.
He said that this financial year the NSW Government had allocated almost $3 million for early intervention services for people living with dementia and a range of initiatives to support carers through the 24 Dementia Advisory Services across NSW.
"We also have provided a grant of $360,000 to Alzheimer's Australia NSW over three years for a pilot project to establish culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal dementia-specific positions in South West Sydney.
"The Keneally Government has also allocated $250,000 to Alzheimer's Australia NSW to undertake research to improve services and outcomes for people with early onset dementia and $664,000 for 2010 and 2011 to implement social marketing and related strategies to promote awareness of dementia and uptake of evidence-based risk reduction strategies."
Mr Primrose said that other support included the allocation of $150,000 to develop and promote a workforce development resource that would improve care for Aboriginal people affected by dementia and another $150,000 to develop and disseminate information resources on dementia that are culturally appropriate for NSW Aboriginal communities.
Mr Primrose said the NSW Government supported the call by Alzheimers Australia NSW for people to prepare important documents such as their will and guardianship papers if they were diagnosed with Alzheimers and to make sure their banks accounts were in joint names.
For more information on Dementia Awareness Week, including details of planned events, visit: www.alzheimers.org.au/content.cfminfopageid=6831
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