A Shorten Labor Government will fund a trial of respite care on the Central Coast specifically for people living with dementia and their carers.

Labor’s $10 million commitment will enable Alzheimer’s Australia and the University of Wollongong to trial models of respite care and to monitor and evaluate which methods are most effective across selected regions, including the Central Coast.

Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Senator Katy Gallagher, and Labor candidate for Dobell, Emma McBride said the Central Coast has been chosen as one of the trial regions.

“Appropriate support for the more than 1.2 million carers is a critical factor in dementia treatment, which allows 70 per cent of people living with dementia to live at home and in the community,” Senator Gallagher said.  

More than nine in 10 people with dementia living in the community do so with informal carer support. A recent Alzheimer’s Australia survey of consumers revealed limited respite care was identified as the top area of support that needed to be addressed.

“More than half of primary carers of people living with dementia at home have indicated they need more support, and the greatest single unmet area of demand is for respite care,” Senator Gallagher said.

“This program will make a real difference for families living with dementia, the trial aims to give people living with dementia and their families greater capacity to choose how, when and who delivers their care-offering them more flexible respite and support.”

“Respite care not only provides a much needed break for carers but more importantly provides an opportunity for social engagement for people with dementia” Ms McBride said.

Senator Gallagher said Labor’s policy would address the shortage of respite services specifically designed to support people living with dementia.

“The trial will evaluate a range of care models, while at the same time providing a significant increase in the supply of respite places for carers and patients on the Coast,” Ms McBride said.

“These trials will specifically target dementia respite services for harder-to-reach groups such as people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, the LGBTI community and veterans.”

This is part of Labor’s $25 million commitment to a National Dementia Strategy.

Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

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