Dementia tsunami has already hit

And a leading academic says aged care groups need to focus more on the end stages of the disease.

The impacts of the dementia ‘tsunami’ are already being felt in Australia, according to a leading academic in the field.

Professor Jenny Abbey from the University of Adelaide said 175,000 people would be diagnosed with dementia every year for the next 40 years.

However, she warned that dementia had already reached epidemic proportions and health and aged care services are struggling to cope with the demand.

“To be honest, these figures are probably understated…we have an epidemic of giant proportions looming,” Professor Abbey said.

Presenting the David Wallace Address at the Australian Association of Gerontology’s 43rd national conference in Hobart today, Professor Abbey called for more to be done to help patients in the end stages of dementia.

“They’re more aware than what they’re often given credit for. We need to ask ourselves, how much are these people aware and how much are they suffering,” she said.

Professor Abbey said the majority of those caring for people living with late stage dementia had little or no training sometimes tuning out to pleas for help.

“There is an urgent need in Australia to examine the end of life care of our people living with late stage dementia, we need to examine options to help these people die with the dignity they deserve,” she said.
 

Tags: ageing-population, dementia, professor-jenny-abbey,

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