General News Research Sector News — 15 November 2013
Care advisor calls for more dementia-friendly communities

Broken Hill’s dementia advisor says the latest findings on regional dementia are alarming.

A discussion paper released by Alzheimer’s Australia NSW reveals the prevalence of dementia in the Far West could grow by more than 250 per cent over the next 40 years.

Far West dementia advisor Melanie Chynoweth-Holland says while the findings give a grim picture of the disease in rural Australia, they come as no surprise.bigstock-Senior-Man-Outdoor-9009271

“There’s no cure for this at the moment, they’re still working on finding a lot of the causes for it because there’s so many different types of dementia as well,” she said.

“Unfortunately we’re not prepared for it and we need a lot more carers in the community, because there’s going to be a big influx of people with dementia and it’s going to be the third-largest killer worldwide.”

Ms Chynoweth-Holland says there needs to be more awareness about getting an early diagnosis and the right care.

“It’s getting the diagnosis that’s very difficult, so there’s probably people out there that the GPs suspect have dementia but they’re not formally diagnosed,” she said.

“Even when they do get the diagnosis they probably had dementia for three to seven years before that.”

Ms Chynoweth-Holland says it’s particularly important for those in more isolated areas to stay connected and keep socially active.

She says there needs to be a more dementia-friendly approach to communities in regional areas.

“Definitely keep it active and keep it social,” she said.

“There are so many isolated people in Broken Hill that can’t link with services due to their ageing.

“They can’t drive, so if we can help those people to socialise a little bit more that can definitely help.”

This article first appeared on ‘ABC News’ on 14 November 2013.

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