Support for people with dementia must be a priority

18 December 2014

Alzheimer’s Australia has expressed reservations about the transition to the new Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) arrangements announced today by the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield.

Carol Bennett, CEO Alzheimer’s Australia said: “The new assessment process and review of support services, including counselling, information, education and advocacy, puts into question the continued funding for specialist programs that are vital to support the more than 332,000 Australians living with dementia.

“These programs form part of a suite of specialist services that bridge the gap between the needs of people with dementia and what is available through mainstream options. There is no one-size-fits-all model to dementia care, and these programs and services are providing the support that people with dementia and their carers rely on.”

Some of the specialist dementia services provided under the current CHSP funding include: psycho-social support and counselling around the emotional impact of the dementia diagnosis; providing education to families about dementia; helping to resolve conflicts within families; support through one-on-one training; advocacy and the coordination of social support groups that provide much needed respite for family carers.

“If these services are lost, it will have a huge impact on the quality of life of those living with dementia,” Ms Bennett said.

“We do recognise that the intention is to cut red tape, and provide simplified grant agreements and more time to deliver services, but our priority is to ensure that the transition does not impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

“Alzheimer’s Australia is looking forward to working very closely with the government throughout the review process to ensure that the people with dementia who currently access and rely on these programs don’t miss out on the essential support they need in the future.”


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