Spotlight on dementia

April 7, 2016

Over the next 20 years, we will have the highest increased ratio of people living with dementia in the state.- Sue Tolhurst , WSLHD dementia specialist

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), in partnership with Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, Community Care Limited and Anglicare, are inviting service providers and carers to attend a forum focusing on dementia.

The forum on May 26, Spotlight on Dementia, will feature information sessions from health professionals and carers of people with dementia, with a special appearance by comedian Anthony Ackroyd.

WSLHD dementia specialist Sue Tolhurst said dementia rates in western Sydney are on the rise.

“Over the next 20 years, we will have the highest increased ratio of people living with dementia in the state,” she said.

“Approximately nine per cent of Australians aged 65 and over have a diagnosis of dementia; in people aged 85 years and older, this figure rises to 30 per cent.

“As Australia’s population ages, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase.”

Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians and the third leading cause of disability burden overall, according to the study Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Dementia in Australia.

There are more than 353,800 Australians living with dementia and this number is expected to increase to 400,000 in less than five years.

Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 900,000 by 2050.

Ms Tolhurst said most people are not aware that dementia can affect a person’s overall function.

“It does not discriminate by only affecting older people – it can affect younger people too,” she said.

“We will be discussing a number of issues including apathy, hoarding and elder abuse. We will also be looking at the effect dementia has on carers, including younger carers and male carers.”

She explained the forum is an opportunity for residents to update their understanding of dementia and some of the more challenging issues that might develop.

To register visit and search ‘Spotlight on Dementia’.

For more info about the forum, contact Anne Tunks on 9767 5953 or

For more info about dementia call National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

PUT HEALTH FIRST: Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and there is no cure, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.



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