Australia

Dementia on the rise in Australia with hundreds developing it every day

New figures show the number of people living with dementia in Australia continues to rise.

The latest data from Dementia Australia indicates more than 425,000 people live with it and an estimated 250 Australians develop dementia every day.

The organisation's chief executive Maree McCabe says she wants families and those living with dementia to know there are services that can help them.

"By 2056 without a medical breakthrough, we'll have around 1.1 million [people living with dementia] and there won't be anybody in Australia who won't be impacted in some way," she said.

"It's no accident that the earlier we get to people, the more informed they're going to be, the better quality of life they're going to have and the better outcome that they will have in the longer run."

Qld: 80,391, NSW: 142,352, ACT:5,568, Vic: 107,594, Tas: 10,888, SA: 35,725, WA: 41,149, NT: 1,749

23yo Isabelle is mum's primary carer

Isabelle Burke was just 20 when her then 54-year-old mum Christine O'Brien was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014.

"We soon realised that we couldn't really do anything to save her but we could do a lot to help her," she said.

At the time the family was fragmented.

Isabelle Burke and Christine O'Brien stand embracing in a garden

Ms O'Brien and her youngest daughter were living in Lismore in northern New South Wales — but the 18-year-old was about to go overseas.

Ms Burke, the middle child, was studying psychology in Melbourne while her older brother, who was 22 at the time, was living in northern NSW but in another town.

So it was decided Ms Burke would become her mother's primary carer and they would live in Melbourne's Albert Park — where Ms O'Brien grew up.

"It was quite a difficult juggle keeping all the balls in the air; study, trying to have some sort of a young person's life and then helping Mum as much as I could."

Ms O'Brien is now in an aged-care facility but her daughter is the first point of contact if anything goes wrong and visits her mum almost daily.

Ms Burke and her siblings have accessed family counselling services through Dementia Australia, to help talk about their mum's condition, and she encourages others to do the same.

"I'd like people to realise that there is so much you can do," she said.

"Every time I see Mum smile and I know that I've made her smile, it just makes everything so much better.

"Although people with Alzheimer's disease can be quite severely affected by it in terms of their speech or their mobility there's so much you can do for them. I'd like to let people know, to never give up."

If you or someone you know needs support you can call Dementia Australia on 1800 100 500.

Original Article

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