Dementia hits hard

THE North Coast of NSW is the dementia capital of Australia, according a report for Alzheimer's Australia by Deloitte Access Economics.

The Clarence Valley electorates of Cowper and Page rank two and six respectively on a table charting the prevalence of the disease.

Lyne, to the south, ranks number one and Richmond, to the north, ranks three.

Overall, country electorates dominate the top 10 in the table and are expected to maintain their rankings by 2050.

The new report reveals:

Looming dementia epidemic set to increase by nearly 50% in 10 years;

Dementia is one of the fastest growing chronic diseases; and

$500 million is needed over five years to address key priorities.

Dementia activists from NSW marched on Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday to demand $500 million over five years to address the dementia epidemic.

The action took place as a new report revealed the extent of the looming dementia epidemic, with the number of Australians with dementia expected to increase to a staggering 385,000 people - up by almost 50% - in just 10 years.

The report found that in NSW the number of people with dementia will soar from 91,000 this year to 303,500 by 2050.

Alzheimer's Australia NSW CEO John Watkins said the coastal areas in NSW are expected to be hardest hit.

"But there are no winners here - every area will be affected," Mr Watkins said.

"Every electorate across NSW will experience an increase in the number of people with dementia, which is why I am marching on Parliament House in Canberra."

Alzheimer's Australia President Ita Buttrose led the march and said there will be 75,000 baby boomers with dementia by 2020.

"Dementia, which includes Alzheimer's disease, will be the third largest source of health and residential care spending by 2030 - it's one of the fastest growing major disease burdens Australia faces," Ms Buttrose said.

The new report, Dementia Across Australia: 2011-2050, released last week has found that without a significant medical breakthrough, the number of Australians with dementia is expected to soar from an estimated 267,000 in 2011 to almost one million people by 2050.

For more information on the Dementia Action Plan and to get a copy of the Dementia Across Australia report and the National Strategies to Address Dementia paper, go to www.alzheimers.org .au.

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