The Australian Greens say the latest international data on dementia suggests a more concerted effort is needed to tackle this growing challenge.
The World Alzheimer Report has put the global cost of dementia in 2010 at $631 billion, and predicts the number of people with dementia will dramatically increase in coming years.
Greens Health and Aged Care spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert says the annual cost of dementia care in Australia is currently estimated at $5.4 billion, with the number of Australians with dementia set to double by 2030.
“Dementia is the largest single cause of disability in older Australians, and is the third largest cause of death,” Senator Siewert said today.
“The impact on our health and care system is expected to rise dramatically in coming decades. By 2030 the number of Australians with dementia will double to 592,000 and then almost double again to around 1.13 million by 2050.
“Australian research into the effect of lifestyle factors (like diet and activity levels) indicates that there is much we can do to apply a preventive health approach to reducing the onset and impact of dementia.
“More research is needed into predicting and treating the impacts of dementia – this is an area in which Australian research could lead the world in tackling one of the biggest emerging problems of the 21st century,” said Senator Siewert.
The Greens have recently launched detailed dementia and aged care policies and Senator Siewert says the party look forward to discussing a number of key health issues in the coming Parliament.
“Dementia is expected to become the third greatest source of health and residential aged care spending within the next two decades,” said Senator Siewert.
“It is clear that we need to be putting more effort and resources into research and development on the causes and prevention of dementia,” Senator Siewert concluded.