Ageing, Disability & Home Care

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Caring for a person with dementia

Dementia describes the symptoms of a large group of diseases that over time can cause a decline in a person’s cognition and ability to function.

In 2011, there were estimated to be approximately 92,000 people with dementia in NSW. This is projected to increase to 341,000 people by 2050. (Access Economics report: Keeping dementia front of mind: incidence and prevalence 2009-2050)

What changes does dementia cause in a person’s behaviour?

The first thing many people learn about dementia is from observing their family member’s behaviour change slowly before their eyes.  

The most noticeable changes may affect a person’s memory, orientation, behaviour, emotions and thinking.

The person with dementia cannot help their behaviour as it results from damage in one or more areas of the brain.

The way they are affected, and the nature and extent of the underlying brain damage, is different for every person (Australian Department of Health and Ageing, 2006).

What help is available?

Dementia Advisory Services

The NSW Dementia Program is delivered jointly by ADHC and NSW Health. One of the initiatives of this program is the establishment of Dementia Advisory Services across NSW.

People living with dementia and their carers can contact their local Dementia Advisory Service for:

  • information about dementia
  • help with referral to other services
  • nursing and allied health services to people with dementia
  • access to carer education and resources.

Living with dementia

At home with dementia (PDF, large file >1MB) provides a range of solutions to problems commonly faced by people with dementia who live at home, and their carers.

It provides practical advice on how to modify the home environment to help a loved one live at home for as long as possible. Email us at to request a copy of At home with dementia. 

Dementia day-care centres

HACC funded Dementia day-care centres provide dementia-specific support for people with dementia.

Services include diversionary activities, nursing and allied health services and advice for carers of clients. These services help carers to continue in their caring role.

Sixteen new or refurbished dementia day-care centres will be provided across NSW in 2009-12 as part of the HACC Capital Strategy.

Read more about HACC services.

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