Older Australians are healthier than ever and more people with greater longevity means more dementia in the community and more carers too. The Northern Sydney Dementia Collaborative has recently formed to help people more easily access local healthcare and dementia information, support and services.
The Collaborative – comprising Alzheimer’s Australia, Community Care Northern Beaches, North Sydney Local Health District, and Sydney North Primary Health Network – believes easier access will enable more comprehensive healthcare management and more timely support and will help people avoid hospital and premature admission to a residential facility. Collaborative results so far include a Memory Problems booklet, hospital dementia discharge services, and a GP social work service. Many dementia-specific resources are available online, including a consumer Companion Guide on diagnosis, treatment and care, several resources on future planning (including why advanced care planning needs to be different for people with dementia) plus many resources for GPs and allied health professionals. There’s a link and phone number (1800 699 799) to the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service and you can find all these resources here If you scroll further down that page, you’ll also find resources for carers including the Northern Sydney Carer Support Service (ph 9462 9488) and local Carer Support Services, and the Carer Gateway (ph 1800 422 737), a national online and phone service.
Sydney Community Services’ programs and services, such as in-home nursing and podiatry, Meals on Wheels, social, health and wellbeing groups, and the Hunters Hill Seniors Hub, all cater to people with dementia. If you are a carer of someone living with dementia and would like to socialise over coffee and share experiences and ideas with other carers, call our Carer Support Coordinator, Rosemary, on 9817 0101.
Nuala Williams, our Community Care Advisor, takes many calls from families, carers and people starting on the journey with dementia and she introduces them to supportive SCS services which help people live with dementia independently in their home: see our Community Advisory Service page for an outline of services and areas.
Demand for Nuala’s advice and other resources can only increase. In Australia, almost one third of people 85 years and older and almost one tenth of folk 65-plus are now living with dementia.
In Northern Sydney, the 75-and-older group is expected to grow by 23% or almost a quarter between 2011 and 2021. By 2026, it’s expected that 9% of people in Northern Sydney will be 75 years or older. And it’s on for young and old: dementia also affects people under 65 – there are about 25,000 Australians between 30 and 65 years with Younger Onset Dementia.