Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2023) outlines that there are an estimated 401,300 Australians living with dementia, including an estimated 27,800 people with younger onset dementia (below the age of 65). The number of those living with dementia is predicted to reach more than 849,300 by 2058.

Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians and the leading cause of death for women. Dementia is the leading cause of disease burden for those over 65 years.

Dementia is not a normal part of ageing, it is a chronic, progressive and terminal disease, however some symptoms may be caused by conditions that are reversible including:

  • declining hormones
  • thyroid dysfunction
  • suboptimal nutrition
  • infection
  • depression
  • social isolation
  • stress

Early detection of Dementia ensures:

  • early diagnosis, including type of dementia,
  • earlier treatment modalities that manage the type of dementia can be prescribed
  • provision of strategies to manage changes and for future planning.
  • families and the person living with dementia have time to work through the stages to acceptance of a life limiting disease and start to plan for end of life. The Living with Dementia on the North Coast resource booklet assists families and health practitioners through this journey

With 2 out of every 3 people living with dementia living at home, primary care plays a vital role in the diagnosis, treatment and support of people and their families.

Support for your practice is provided through the dementia PCI and the Dementia and Cognitive Impairment HealthPathway
Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2023, May 12), Dementia in Australia, AIHW.

HealthPathways – provides clinicians with a dementia pathway which includes information about dementia and:

  • Cognitive Impairment
  • 5 Minute Neurological Examination for Patients with possible Dementia
  • Starting Cholinesterase Inhibitors (CHEIs)
  • Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms
  • Driver Assessment of Patients with Cognitive Impairment which assesses patients fitness to drive and provides a referral link to:
    • OT Therapy Driving Assessment

Login details for HealthPathways

Username: manchealth
Password: conn3ct3d

The National Health Services Directory provides information about local dementia service providers. Simply look for ‘more services’ at the bottom of the list, add your postcode and search for ‘dementia’ to see results.