Death report reveals huge toll of dementia in Australia


A new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare highlights just how big of an impact dementia has on communities across the country.

The “What Do Australians Die From?” report shows dementia remains the leading cause of death for Australian women and the second leading cause overall.

According to Dementia Australia CEO Professor Tanya Buchanan, with over 421,000 Australians living with dementia – a number expected to double in the next 30 years – the condition presents one of the most pressing healthcare challenges facing the nation.

“We know from Australian and international research that dementia is a poorly understood condition, yet it is one of the leading causes of death for Australians,” Prof Buchanan said. “Dementia is not a normal part of the ageing process. It is however, one of the major health challenges facing Australia.”

She explained that for those diagnosed with dementia, accessing appropriate care and support services can often be fragmented and difficult. Key needs for people impacted include:

  • A timely and accurate diagnosis,
  • Access to support services like those provided by Dementia Australia at the time they are diagnosed, including referrals to the National Dementia Helpline, 1800 100 500,
  • Supports services that maintain dignity and autonomy, and
  • Appropriate palliative care services.

“Dementia Australia is committed to working with people impacted by dementia to achieve better outcomes and to reduce the impact of dementia into the future,” Prof Buchanan said. “We are proud to be one of the leading funders of research into dementia.”

She highlighted exciting breakthroughs that demonstrate the potential to prevent many cases of dementia, as well as provide more effective treatment and support. The organisation’s Research Foundation is investing in studies aimed at making tangible improvements in dementia care.

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