As discussed in a recent article The ‘wisdom’ of governments dealing with dementia, like Dr Faizel Ibrahim, a senior Consultant Geriatrician at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, I remain very concerned of the potential impact of the 2015-2016 STATE BUDGET PRIORITIES in South Australia. Should funding of dementia programs not continued, this will have a devastating impact on the number of Alzheimer’s Australia SA dementia services supporting South Australians Funding of $1,485,000 is required to continue these services.
Alzheimer’s Australia South Australia released the attached paper earlier this week, which is an important reminder of what is at stake for people with dementia and their families.
Below is an open letter, sanctioned by Alzheimer’s Australia SA for me to publish here as well.
A number of Alzheimer’s Australia SA dementia services in South Australia are at risk unless urgent action is taken to continue funding some $1,485,000 of highly valued programs supporting people livening with dementia and their families.
There some 30,000 South Australians living with dementia. The cost of dementia is high, significantly impacting on people’s personal and financial lives.
People with dementia are often informally diagnosed with dementia and then left without an adequate understanding of the disease, the community supports or the skills to manage their care needs.
The valuable services at risk provide assistance to over 7,000 people per year and impact positively on thousands more family and community members.
The programs and services most notably at risk due to changes in the funding system across State and Federal programs. include:
- Dementia Link Workers
- Social and Cultural Diversity Liaison: Aboriginal and Multicultural Liaison Officers
- Family Resource Support: community dementia education, dementia consumers support groups and workshops, resource library.
Just like Alzheimer’s Australia SA, myself and many consumers are particularly concerned:
- That the changes will see dementia specific services absorbed into general mainstream services.
- That mainstream services cannot and will not provide adequate services to meet the varied and very complex needs of people with dementia and their carers in South Australia.
South Australians supported by Commonwealth Home and Community Care (HACC) funded programs through both Commonwealth and state based services are at risk when they are most vulnerable by the current funding uncertainty.
State HACC funded services provide much needed supports to the person living with dementia and their family carers, for example the Connexus retreats for people livening with dementia also provide carers much needed respite and support from a network of people that understand dementia due to shared experiences.
The voice and support from the community is important if we are to ensure the ongoing provision of the necessary range of dementia programs provided by Alzheimer’s Australia SA. Together we need the South Australian Government to complement the Commonwealth initiatives with its own substantial commitment to the programs at risk, either through new monies, or resources within existing budget lines.