Government cuts will hurt people with younger onset dementia

Alzheimer’s Australia launched their “No Longer a Statistic” campaign this morning highlighting that there are now at least 25,100 people under the age of 65 living with younger onset dementia.

Many people think dementia is only a disease of the elderly, but a quarter of a million Australians suffer from younger onset dementia- some only in their 30s and 40s.

Those affected by younger onset dementia are currently supported by the federally funded Key Worker Program, which is the only specialised one-on-one support service for people with dementia under 65.

The life changing Key Worker Program is set to lose funding when the National Disability Insurance Scheme is rolled out nationally in July 2016.

There are currently 630 people living with younger onset dementia in Tasmania who will face going into residential care when the program is axed next year.

“I have seen first-hand the significant impacts of younger onset dementia. It would be a failure of the system for residential aged care to be the only answer. In most cases it is completely inappropriate for the needs of people with younger onset dementia,” Senator Polley said.

According to Alzheimer’s Australia there are already more than 342,800 Australians living with dementia, a figure expected to triple by 2050.

“This is why dementia needs to be at the forefront of Government thinking and must be treated as national health priority.” Senator Polley added.

The Abbott Government must change its perception of dementia, which is now the second leading cause of death in Australia and invest to support people with younger onset dementia.