NFP: Alzheimer’s to cost $8bn/year

09/07/2008 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Research and treatment of Alzheimer's disease is due to get a boost on two fronts, with a new charitable foundation to be launched this month and a second foundation commencing a $10 million fund raising campaign.

Research and treatment of Alzheimer's disease is due to get a boost on two fronts, with a new charitable foundation to be launched this month and a second foundation commencing a $10 million fund raising campaign.

The members of a Perth family who lost their matriarch to Alzheimer's in 2004 are planning to establish a foundation to cater for the shortfall in dementia and Alzheimer's respite workers in Western Australia.

On July 23, emeritus professor of economics at University of Western Australia, Reg Appleyard, will launch the Iris Appleyard Foundation with daughters Wendy and Helen, in memory of his wife and their mother, Iris.

The foundation is designed to provide extra care to the estimated 42,000 Western Australians suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's.

Co-founder Wendy Appleyard said the new foundation would work closely with Alzheimer's Australia WA (AAWA), a not-for-profit support group offering education, care and counselling.

"Government funding to Alzheimer's Australia WA so they can provide care to a person with dementia in their own home generally provides for only six hours per week - barely enough time to give that person a shower every day," Ms Appleyard said.

"A family has to put in that help for the rest of the time, but the government says 'six hours a week is all we will give you', even though it's a 24-hour a day job.

"Most families are simply not in the position to leave their jobs or other commitments to become full-time carers, and most families simply can't afford it."

The costs of care beyond that offered through government funding are estimated to be upward of $50 an hour.

Ms Appleyard said the foundation would complement services already provided by AAWA.

Although the two would remain separate entities, AAWA will assume auditing and financial responsibility, and will represent half the six-person Iris Appleyard Foundation board.

Ms Appleyard said she hoped the scheduled launch of the foundation would raise $100,000, equating to about 2,000 hours of care for people with Alzheimer's.

An Alzheimer's Australia report released last month, titled Australian Dementia Research, has warned that, by 2030, dementia and Alzheimer's will cost Australia's health care system more than $8.2 billion annually.

The number of people with dementia is expected to double to 460,000.

AAWA estimates that it costs more than $40,000 to care for someone suffering from Alzheimer's each year, factoring in aspects such as lost work hours for carers.

AAWA acting chief executive David Gribble said the organisation received a combined $2 million from the federal and state governments annually to provide respite care to Alzheimer's and dementia sufferers.

However, he said AAWA could only afford to assist 3,000 of the estimated 20,000 people in WA suffering from the diseases.

In an attempt to address what has been described by Access Economics as a nationwide dementia epidemic, AAWA has joined The McCusker Foundation for Alzheimer's Disease Research, based in Nedlands, to launch capital raising campaign, 'Remember Me'.

Chairman of the McCusker Foundation, Perth lawyer Malcolm McCusker, said that finding a cure, effective treatment and high-quality care was critical.

"We believe that by raising $10 million we can strengthen the state's ability to find a cure for Alzheimer's and to care for those already suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, which are progressive, degenerative and fatal brain diseases," he said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options