A national television campaign has been launched to help carers of people living with dementia.
Called Dementia affects us all – and developed by Dementia Support Australia – the hard-hitting campaign shines a particular focus on the increasing number of people living with dementia being cared for in their own homes.
“The campaign is deliberately confronting in its message to enable people to understand the importance of reaching out for help,” said DSA head of dementia professional services Marie Alford.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, dementia is the leading cause of disease burden for older Australians.
Indeed, approximately 70 per cent of people with dementia live at home with many carers unlikely to be aware of the support services available. “The aim of our campaign is to let carers know help is there when situations start to change, to reach out before you reach your limit,” said Ms Alford.
With government aged care reform focused on enabling Australians to age in place, “the numbers of older people living with dementia at home will grow sharply,” said Ms Alford.
The commercials – funded by the Australia Government and led by dementia care specialists HammondCare – illustrate the manifestation of dementia behaviours through the narrative of a husband struggling to deal with his wife’s psychological symptoms.
In tandem with the campaign, geriatrician and senior research fellow at HammondCare’s Dementia Centre Professor Susan Kurrle presents a series of online resources offering advice for carers faced with behaviours and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD).
BPSD refers to the impacts that many people living with dementia will experience including aggression, delusions, agitation, depression, vocalisations, and disinhibitions.
The AIHW estimates that last year there were more than 350,000 unpaid carers supporting people living with dementia. These carers – usually women – often work up to 60-plus hours a week.
Caring for someone living with dementia can often send people to breaking point, said Professor Kurrle. “Accelerating behavioural symptoms can be a trigger point for carers to feel they are not coping. These carers need to know DSA is there to help if you need it day or night.”
DSA has more than 300 trained consultants available 24/7. To contact the helpline call 1800 699 799.