September is Dementia Awareness Month!

dementia-friend
This year’s theme is Small actions. Big difference!  Dementia Australia’s national awareness program is aiming to highlight the small actions people can take to create a big difference for people impacted by dementia, their families and carers.
Become a Dementia Friend
For Dementia Awareness Month 2018, Dementia Australia is asking people to pledge their support by becoming a Dementia Friend to access informative online resources. Becoming a Dementia Friend is as simple as going to the website dementiafriendly.org.au and watching three videos that explain dementia and feature interviews with people impacted by dementia.

Australian Statistics:

  • Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians contributing to 5.4% of all deaths in males and 10.6% of all deaths in females each year[1]
  • In 2016 dementia became the leading cause of death among Australian females, surpassing heart disease which has been the leading cause of death for both males and females since the early 20th century[1].
  • In 2018, there is an estimated 425,416 Australians living with dementia (45%) males and (55%) females
  • Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 536,164 by 2025 and almost 1,100,890 by 2056[2]
  • Currently an estimated 250 people are joining the population with dementia each day.
  • Three in 10 people over the age of 85 and almost one in 10 people over 65 have dementia[2]
  • In 2018, there is an estimated 26,443 people with younger onset dementia[2]
  • An average of 36 people died per day where dementia was the underlying cause of death in 2016.

The impact of dementia in Australia:

  • In 2018, dementia is estimated to cost Australia more than $15 billion. By 2025, the total cost of dementia is predicted to increase to more than $18.7 billion in today’s dollars, and by 2056, to more than $36.8 billion[2]
  • Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians (aged 65 years or older) and the third leading cause of disability burden overall[3]
  • People with dementia account for 52% of all residents in residential aged care facilities[2]

What is Dementia?

Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning. It is a broad term used to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning. There are many types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy body disease. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65.

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017) Causes of Death, Australia, 2016 (cat. no. 3303.0)
[2] The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling NATSEM (2016) Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056
[3] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia