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Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt at the LASA Care and Ageing Expo at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre in Perth, where he made the funding announcement. Photo: LASA

Dementia funding announced for high-tech care

The federal government has announced it is putting $5.3 million towards projects for people living with dementia, with an emphasis on using innovative technology.

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt said the commitment will fund the trialling of technology to improve the quality of life for Australians living with dementia.

Projects will range from supporting people with dementia to remain independent and enabling them to live in their own homes for longer, to helping families and carers better understand the disease.

Wyatt said the funding will also extend the capacity of the health and aged care sectors to respond to increased rates of dementia.

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) chief executive Sean Rooney said the trial was a welcome boost for an industry working hard to deliver new and improved models of care.

“We need to accelerate innovation and collaboration in our industry to translate ideas into action, resulting in better outcomes for older Australians,” Rooney said.

“While technology can never replace human caring it can go some way to assisting to improve quality of life for those with dementia as well as their loved ones and carers.”

Dementia Australia will receive initial funding of $1 million in 2018–19 to work with existing technology providers, while the remaining $4.3 million will be allocated through a grants process as part of the National Dementia Support Program.

While Wyatt echoed Rooney’s point about the importance of human touch, he added the sector is already seeing major innovations that are improving and augmenting care.

“Bedroom technologies such as laser beams, floor sensors and trip lights that alert staff have increased safety for residents, while robots and robotic pets are helping to reduce tension among people with dementia and improving their quality of life.”

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