Labor has called on the Abbott Government to refocus its resources to tackle dementia as an immediate priority.
This follows the release of the World Alzheimer Report 2015, which calls for more programs to raise awareness and improve access to early diagnosis and care.
The Abbott Government has overseen some of the cruellest cuts to dementia care and resources, including:
• Axing the $16 a day Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement paid to residential aged care facilities for residents with severe behaviours.
• Replacing it with the unwelcome “flying squads” (Severe Behaviour Response Teams), which are yet to make it off the ground.
• Axing of the world’s first dementia risk reduction program, Your Brain Matters.
• Refusing to fund the Younger Onset Dementia Key Workers program, a life-changing program to provide support for those aged under 65 years with dementia, their families, carers and even employers.
• Slashing $20 million for innovative dementia care programs in the 2015 budget.
Under the Abbott Government there is no plan to equip and resource hospitals and GPs to ensure those with dementia are identified early and provided with access to programs to help reduce the impact.
It is clear Tony Abbott has no plan or interest in dementia, which is now the second leading cause of death in Australia and costs the health and aged care systems about $5 billion (AIHW, 2011) a year.
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