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Intouch : In Touch Summer 2011-12
10 IN TOUCH SUMMER 2011 Dementia activists from NSW joined people from across the country to march on Parliament House in Canberra on 13 October to demand $500 million over fve years to address the dementia epidemic. The action took place as a new report, Dementia Across Australia: 2011- 2050, revealed the extent of the looming dementia epidemic, with the number of Australians with dementia expected to increase to a staggering 385,000 people -- up by almost 50 per cent -- in just 10 years. The report has found that in NSW alone, the number of people with dementia will soar from 91,000 this year to 303,500 by 2050, with coastal areas of NSW expected to be hardest hit. "But there are no winners here; every area will be affected, " AlzNSW CEO The Hon. John Watkins said. "Every electorate across NSW will experience an increase in the number of people with dementia, which is why I marched on Parliament House in Canberra. " Alzheimer's Australia President Ita Buttrose, who led the Fight Dementia March, said there would be 75,000 baby boomers with dementia by 2020. "Dementia, which includes Alzheimer's disease, will be the third largest source of health and residential care spending by 2030; it's one of the fastest growing major disease burdens Australia faces, " Ita said. The march comes in response to the government's recent decision to discontinue the Dementia Initiative. “These new fgures demonstrate the urgency with which Australia must respond. Dementia must be part of aged care reform, " Ita said. The new report found that without a signifcant medical breakthrough, the number of Australians with dementia is expected to soar from an estimated 267,000 in 2011 to almost one million people by 2050. In NSW, Paterson, Lyne, Cowper, Richmond, Gilmore, Page and Dobell are in the top 10 federal electorates for dementia prevalence in NSW now, and are expected to remain in the top 10 in 2050. The report, prepared for Alzheimer's Australia by Deloitte Access Economics, predicts that every federal electorate will experience an increase in dementia prevalence. "It is unacceptable that the Federal Government has terminated guaranteed funding for essential dementia programs and support services, " John said. "We demand positive action through a $500 million Dementia Action Plan over fve years. This will provide funding to promote dementia awareness, achieve timely diagnoses, provide quality dementia care, make Australians aware they may be able to reduce their risk of dementia and invest in dementia research. " A copy of the report has been given to every Member of Parliament and Senator to ensure they understand what the dementia epidemic means for their constituencies, and that Australia must fght dementia the way it has fought cancer and heart disease. "The paper prepared by Alzheimer's Australia, National Strategies to Address Dementia, shows there is a growing recognition that dementia can only be beaten through national action, " John continued. Speakers at the Fight Dementia March included Ita Buttrose, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing The Hon. Mark Butler MP, Shadow Ageing Minister Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Federal Parliamentary Friends of Dementia Co-Convenor Sharon Grierson MP. Also speaking at the march were Judy Woolstencroft, a carer for her partner, Chris, who was diagnosed with younger onset dementia (YOD) at the age of 56; and Kate Swaffer who was diagnosed in her late 40s with YOD. "Unfortunately it took 10 months for Chris to be offcially diagnosed, and many others have to wait W POWER TO THE PEOPLE ON 13 OCTOBER, ALZNSW BURST INTO CANBERRA TO DEMAND CHANGE, LAUNCHING A NEW REPORT ON DEMENTIA PREVALENCE, MARCHING ON PARLIAMENT HOUSE AND REVEALING THE NEW BRAND IDENTITY THAT REPLACES THE 'VELVET GLOVE' WITH AN 'IRON FIST'. FEATURE IT IS UNACCEPTABLE THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS TERMINATED GUARANTEED FUNDING FOR ESSENTIAL DEMENTIA PROGRAMS AND SUPPORT SERVICES. WE DEMAND POSITIVE ACTION THROUGH A $500 MILLION DEMENTIA ACTION PLAN OVER FIVE YEARS.
In Touch Issue 78
In Touch Autumn 2012