Prime Minister learns about the Fight Dementia campaign
07 December, 2011
The President of Alzheimer’s Australia, Ita Buttrose and CEO, Glenn Rees had the opportunity yesterday, 6 December to brief the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard on the Fight Dementia campaign.
It was a great opportunity to explain to the Prime Minister why Australia needed a plan to combat the dementia epidemic.
The President pointed out that the social impact of the epidemic was enormous on the family and friends of people with dementia. Around 1.2 million Australians care for people with dementia in one way or another.
The direct health costs of dementia are already estimated at $5.4 billion annually. And by 2030 dementia will be the third highest area of hospital and residential care expenditure.
The opportunity was taken to tell the Prime Minister that Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are linked with other chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Yet dementia is not recognised as a priority issue in any of the health reforms whether primary, hospital or preventative health let alone research where dementia is under funded.
The message was conveyed that dementia is not just an aged care issue. It needs a multi-faceted approach focus, not just on diagnosis and treatment but on awareness, risk reduction and research.
It was emphasised that dementia will not go away. It will only lead to increased burdens and costs for both the nation and individuals. The price for failing to plan will be paid by the families of those with this cruel disease who struggle to care for their loved ones in the future.
Alzheimer’s Australia is grateful to the Prime Minister for taking the time in her busy schedule to have a briefing on the Fight Dementia campaign and important issues facing families and people with dementia across Australia.