The number of people living with dementia in Australia is expected to surge 94 per cent in the next 30 years.

Dementia Australia estimates more than 421,000 people are currently living with dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, it is projected this figure will increase to more than 812,500 by 2054.

NSW has the most cases of dementia in Australia, with 138,200 people living with the condition. This number is estimated to increase to almost 252,800 in the next 30 years – a projected percentage change of 83 per cent.

Rebecca Kay’s grandfather was diagnosed with dementia in 2019 (Supplied: Rebecca Kay)

Carer Rebecca Kay has experienced first-hand the impact that dementia has on a person and their family after her grandfather was diagnosed with dementia in 2019. She said her family dreads watching his condition progress.

“It doesn’t feel as much like dementia yet because he still remembers who we are,” Ms Kay said.

“He currently struggles with short-term memory loss and doesn’t remember if he ate or what he did that morning.

“He also isn’t motivated to do much of anything anymore.”


What is dementia?

Dementia Australia defines dementia as a collection of symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain.

The condition is the second leading cause of death for Australians and the leading cause of death in women.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It affects a person’s memory, thinking patterns and behaviour.

Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementias and younger onset dementia.

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There is not yet a cure for dementia, only medications to help treat and manage some of the symptoms linked to the condition.


Signs and symptoms of dementia

Dementia can affect a person’s memory, thinking, mood and behaviour. 

Early warning signs include memory loss, trouble completing familiar tasks and confusion about time and place.

Dementia Australia recommends speaking to a doctor if you notice early warning signs in yourself or someone else.


National Dementia Action Plan

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care is developing a new National Dementia Action Plan in collaboration with state and territory governments.

The plan aims to implement practical actions over the next 10 years that will improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people living with dementia as well as their carers and families.

The plan is expected to be released later this year.

Need support? Contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500