Dementia Australia has welcomed the Western Australian Government’s investment of $9.6 billion for health and mental health services in the state.
The budget includes $306 million towards mental health services, $18.8 million towards the new 38 bed residential aged and palliative care facility in Carnarvon and $20.1 million to strengthen end of life care and to support implementation of voluntary assisted dying reforms.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said she hoped some of the investment made would benefit people living with dementia in Western Australia.
“Dementia Australia is experiencing an increase in demand for support as a result of the unintended consequences of social distancing,” Ms McCabe said.
“The mental health of carers and people living with dementia is being impacted, along with a decline in cognitive functioning for many, as a result of changes to routine, lack of mental stimulation, and social isolation.
“It is imperative that now, more than ever, we are proactive in addressing the additional mental health challenges due to COVID-19.
“Initiatives including a residential aged and palliative care facility and the strengthening of end of life care will provide support for people in the final stages of their life.
“Dementia is a terminal illness and appropriate palliative and end of life care is an essential element of quality care for people with dementia, and for their families and carers.”
In 2020, there are an estimated 42,900 people living with dementia in Western Australia. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people living with dementia is expected to increase to an estimated 56,900 people by 2028 and 108,000 people by 2058.
Although the investment in health and mental health initiatives in Western Australia is welcome, Ms McCabe added that funding for dementia-specific services is essential to ensure appropriate supports for people living with dementia.
“Dementia is everyone’s business and desperately requires well-funded support and services, responsive to local needs,” she said.
“We look forward to working with the Western Australia government to ensure appropriate support and services are provided to people living with dementia.”
Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated half a million Australians living with dementia, and the almost 1.6 million people involved in their care. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible. No matter how you are impacted by dementia or who you are, we are here for you.