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More than 50% of residents in Australian Government-subsidised aged care facilities in 2008-09 had dementia, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Dementia among aged care residents: first information from the Aged Care Funding Instrument, outlines, for the first time, the characteristics and care requirements of those residents with a diagnosis of dementia.

It shows that about 104,400 out of 198,500 permanent residents assessed by the Aged Care Funding Instrument had a diagnosis of dementia in 2008-09.

‘There is a higher prevalence of dementia in older Australians—about 80% of aged care residents with dementia are aged 80 years and over,’ said Mr Brent Diverty of the AIHW’s Continuing and Specialised Care Group.

‘While relatively few aged care residents with a diagnosis of dementia identified themselves as Indigenous (about 0.6% of all aged care residents with dementia), among this group, a higher proportion were younger—16% of Indigenous residents with dementia were aged under 65 years, compared with 2% of non-Indigenous residents with dementia.’

Nearly 90% (91,300) of residents with dementia were determined to have high level care needs, compared with about 70% (63,800) of other residents.

‘Residents with dementia and high level care requirements stay longer in aged care facilities, compared with  residents with similar care needs and no dementia diagnosis,’ Mr Diverty said.

The average annual Australian Government subsidy (excluding supplements) paid in
2008-09 for a permanent resident with a diagnosis of dementia was $38,100, compared with $31,600 for other residents.

‘Dementia is the leading cause of disease burden in Australians aged 75 years and over,’ Mr Diverty said.

Alzheimer disease was the most common type of dementia diagnosed (76% of dementia residents), followed by Vascular dementia (10%), Other dementia (8%), Dementia in other diseases (4%), and Mixed dementia (2%).

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 12 May 2011

Further information: Mr Brent Diverty, AIHW, tel. (02) 6249 5096, mob. 0438 471 352  

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer 02 6244 1032

Full report: Dementia among aged care residents: first information from the Aged Care Funding Instrument