The proportion of each programs’ annual expenditure that was directly for dementia ranged from 7.9% of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (excluding respite care) to 49% of spending on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (Table S14.2).
It is important to note that the dementia expenditure estimates for Home Care Packages, Commonwealth Home Support Programme and the DVA Home Care Program are based on the length of time a person with dementia was receiving the Dementia and Cognition Supplement in each of the Home Care Package levels. This supplement is available to people with moderate or severe cognitive impairment to offset the additional costs associated with their care. However, as not every person with dementia receives this supplement, the expenditure estimates presented here will be an underestimate of the true cost.
Refer to Community-based aged care services for more information on the Dementia and Cognition Supplement and the provision of aged care services for people with dementia.
Residential aged care
Residential aged care services are available for older Australians who are approved for entry following an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team. The Australian Government provides payments to approved aged care providers to cover care-associated costs for each permanent resident. Refer to Box 14.2 for more information on residential aged care funding.
In 2018–19, the total cost of care for permanent residents with dementia was almost $6.8 billion. When the costs associated with other co-existing conditions in residents with dementia are excluded, the total cost of care directly attributable to dementia was just under $1.7 billion (Figure 14.3).
Women with dementia accounted for 68% or $1.1 billion of the residential aged care expenditure directly attributable to dementia. Expenditure was highest for women aged 90–94 ($306.4 million), closely followed by women aged 85–89 ($302.1 million). By contrast, expenditure was highest for men aged 85–89 ($130.2 million), followed by men aged 80–84 ($114.6 million). As women tend to live longer than men, women account for both a greater proportion of people with dementia in Australia and a greater number of permanent residents in aged care facilities.
The average yearly cost that was attributed to dementia per resident was approximately $10,500 in 2018–19. The average cost was higher for women ($11,000 per resident) than men ($9,500) overall. This was also the case in each age group, except for those aged 75–79, where average expenditure for men was slightly higher ($10,000 compared with $9,900 for women).
Figure 14.3: Estimated Australian Government expenditure on permanent residents of aged care facilities in 2018–19 that was directly attributable to dementia: (a) by sex and (b) by age and sex