Growing cost of dementia hits home

“Anyone who lives long enough will develop some form of dementia.”
“Anyone who lives long enough will develop some form of dementia.” Patrick Gorbunovs

DEMENTIA is the second largest killer in Australia, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

It is estimated by 2060, spending on dementia will outstrip that of any other health condition.

This month is Dementia Awareness Month and the goal is to encourage people to become dementia-aware, have a better understanding of what it is like for a person to live with dementia, and ultimately be encouraged to create communities where people with dementia are supported to live a high quality of life with meaning, purpose and value.

Maud Street Medical Centre's Dr Wayne Herdy said dementia incorporated many different diseases, including Alzheimer's.

The Nambour GP said up to 10% of the Coast population had some degree of dementia. Warning signs for dementia include leaving pots boiling on the stove, getting lost in the shopping centre or forgetting how to make their way home.

"Sometimes dementia can start in the early 60s and even earlier," Dr Herdy said.

"Anyone who lives long enough will develop some form of dementia."

Dr Herdy said on average every GP would see at least one patient everyday with dementia. For the people caring for a loved one with dementia life is can be tough and a Coast couple has first-hand knowledge on the pressures is helping carers.

Vince and Lorrae O'Rourke won the great service provider honour for their home-based B&B refuge for carers just out of Nambour, called Carers Outlook. Since it opened in August 2010, hundreds of carers have stayed and recharged their batteries with the O'Rourkes.

"The care we give to carers has reinforced our belief in the family carer's need for respite, to be cared for, to have relief from the daily burden of responsibility and the mental drain of thinking about the caree's needs," she said. "Some suffer from compassion fatigue and sleep deprivation and some are drained from being dementia warriors fighting for assistance."


Alzheimer's Queensland: 1800 639 331

Carers Qld: 5451 1882

Carers Outlook: 5476 0642

OzCare: 54138460

Topics:  australian bureau of statistics dementia health costs

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