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Support for carers of dementia sufferers in residential aged care.
By : Bev Borig
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One of the most difficult decisions facing carers of a person with dementia is when to place their relative into residential aged care (a nursing home). Most feel it is a negative choice and a last resort. Many feel they have failed their loved one, yet delaying the choice may actually increase the negativity. Ultimately the increasing severity of the dementia experienced and increasing concern for their own health and wellbeing leads to the inevitable decision. This is a decision that will be faced by a rapidly increasing number of families in the next few years. Alzheimer’s Australia estimates that there will be 54,000 new cases of dementia in Australia in 2006, bringing the total number to 210,000, and that the lives of nearly 1 million Australians are affected through caring for a relative or friend with dementia. Unless there is a medical breakthrough, it is projected that by 2050 there will be 730,000 people with a diagnosis of dementia. The reason being that the very elderly, the age group most at risk from dementia, are the fastest growing proportion of the population.

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