By Madolline Gourley

Alzheimer’s Australia president Ita Buttrose believes the Federal Government is lagging behind in its mental health reform, with dementia-related issues often overlooked.

Ms Buttrose told the 14th Alzheimer’s Australia national conference, held in Brisbane on Tuesday, more assistance is needed for those directly and indirectly affected by the illness.

Government funding and aged care reforms unveiled last week in the Budget did not address any of Alzheimer’s Australia‘s main concerns.

“What’s needed is an approach that not only looks at dementia in the context of aged care, but in broader health policy,” Ms Buttrose said.

“We also need more investment for dementia research.”

Ms Buttrose said if dementia is not given more consideration in the coming years, suffers and cares alike will be disadvantaged.

According to Alzheimer’s Australia, approximately 269,000 Australians currently live with dementia. Without a significant medical breakthrough, that number is expected is expected to rise to 981,000 by 2050.

“If the opportunity is not taken in the reform of aged care to put dementia on the map – not only in the context of aged care, but the broader health agenda – the opportunity will be lost for years to come,” Ms Buttrose said.

“The time has come for action, and just as mental health has succeeded getting onto the health agenda, so should dementia.”

The Alzheimer’s Australia national conference will continue on Wednesday at the Brisbane Convention Centre.