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Intouch : In Touch Issue 74
10 In touch Spring 2010 www.alzheimers.org.au The $250,000 grant was announced by the Premier of NSW, The Hon. Kristina Keneally MP, during the official opening of AlzNSW's Gibson-Denney Centre at North Ryde on 23 July. The Minister for Ageing, The Hon. Peter Primrose MLC, was also present. "This NSW Government-funded research project will address the different types of support people with younger onset dementia need to maintain their quality of life," Premier Keneally said. "People with younger onset dementia (YOD) require different support measures to people who are diagnosed over the age of 65 and this study will look at how we can address the needs of those people." The CEO of AlzNSW, The Hon. John Watkins, said the needs of people with YOD -- dementia diagnosed in people under the age of 65 -- are very different to those of older people diagnosed with dementia, and that there are very little age-appropriate services available for the under-65s. "We warmly welcome this grant as it gives us an opportunity to focus on the special needs of those with YOD," John said. "Many are still pursuing their careers and are paying mortgages, while others may still be raising children, caring for grandchildren, or pursuing lifelong dreams to travel and enjoy their retirement." The project will identify the barriers to timely diagnosis and access to appropriate services, as well as identify appropriate models for early intervention. "A diagnosis of dementia at this stage in their life can be an unexpected and devastating shock," John said. "As well, many of the services available for those with dementia have been designed to accommodate people over the age of 65 and are not at all suitable for younger people." Age-appropriate services Stephen Jones was just 51 when he was diagnosed with YOD, which affects an estimated 15,000 Australians. It was a devastating diagnosis made all the more complex by the lack of services available that were appropriate for Stephen's age. Stephen's wife, Rosemary, said the lack of appropriate respite services meant she could no longer carry on in her part-time job as she had to be available to care for him around the clock. "There is nothing around for this age to go to," Rosemary said. "When he did go to a respite centre, all the other people there were in their 80s. It's like putting a person in their 20s in a room with someone in their 50s -- it was completely inappropriate and Stephen hated it." At the opening of the Gibson-Denney Centre, younger onset dementia research received a NSW Government grant. Grant boosts YOD research (front l-r) The Hon. Peter Primrose MLC, Peter Baume AC, The Hon. Kristina Keneally MP, The Hon. John Watkins and (back) AlzNSW staff had plenty to celebrate. Feature
In Touch Issue 75