Australia explores innovative technologies that will improve dementia care

A pilot project that will improve care for people living with dementia will be invested on by the Turnbull Government.

According to the announcement made by the Department of Health, A$ 5.3 million will be invested on the search for innovative technologies that will improve dementia care.

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt AM said that there was a critical need to continue exploring more effective ways to use technology to support people with dementia, as well as their families and carers.

He explained that with up to 250 Australians now joining the population with dementia each day, it is more critical to build on the country’s record investment in dementia research and development.

Minister Wyatt discussed how this latest commitment will fund the trialling of technology in order to improve the quality of life for Australians already living with dementia.

Improvement on their quality of will comprise of sustaining their independence and enabling them to live in their own homes for longer, to helping families and carers to better understand dementia

Moreover, it will also extend the capacity of the health and aged care sectors to respond to increased rates of dementia.

From the total amount of A$ 5.3 million, an initial funding of A$ 1 million will be received by Dementia Australia from 2018 to 2019 so that they can work with the existing technology providers.

The remaining A$ 4.3 million will then be allocated through a grants process as part of the redesigned National Dementia Support Program (NDSP).

Through the NDSP, the Australian Government funds education programs, services and resources that aim to improve awareness and understanding about dementia and increase the skills and confidence of people living with dementia, their carers, families, health professionals, volunteers and community contacts.

Minister Wyatt added that this latest investment will build on the advances made as a result of other innovative projects supported through the Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund (DACS) as well as the five-year A$ 200 million Boosting Dementia Research Initiative of the Australian Government.

DACS is an Australian Government initiative designed to strengthen the capacity of the aged care sector to better respond to the existing and emerging challenges of the aged care reforms.

The Boosting Dementia Research initiative incorporates two main components over five years. The A$ 200 million investment is allocated to these two components. 

A$ 150 million is allocated to urgently scale up dementia research to accelerate progress towards finding preventions, treatments and cures for dementia.

The remaining A$ 50 million is allocated to target, co-ordinate and translate the national research effort to ensure existing and new research translates into better care for dementia patients.

Technology will never be able to replace the importance of the human touch of caring but there are already major innovations being seen which are improving and augmenting care.

For instance, laser beams, floor sensors and trip lights are bedroom technologies that alert staff, thereby increasing the safety of the residents.

There are also robots and robotic pets that are helping to reduce the tension among people with dementia and improve their quality of life.

There are more than 425,000 Australians who are currently living with dementia and it is estimated that this figure will more than double over the next 30 years.

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