People with dementia don’t receive adequate care

Four in five Australians agree: people with dementia don’t receive adequate care within the community.


New research r reveals more than four in five (83%) Australians over 50 are concerned that community services alone cannot meet the needs of people with dementia.


The survey of 1,200 Australians over 50, commissioned by leading aged care provider Bupa Care Services, found that nearly nine in ten Australians (88%) recognise that people with dementia can often be a real burden on their families, with eight in ten (78%) believing that the impact of dementia is actually worse for the family than it is for the sufferer.


Sue Pieters-Hawke, who has first-hand experience caring for someone with dementia, acknowledges the great work community services undertake on a daily basis but agrees community services do not always meet the complex and diverse needs of people with dementia.


“As dementia progresses, a person’s care needs become much more intensive and it is beyond the capacity of most families and community service organisations to provide the level of care required. Like any other family, we dreaded putting mum into aged care, but we accepted it was a decision we had to make.”


Nearly three-quarters (70%) of people over 50 believe someone with dementia should be cared for by specialist dementia care facilities.


Bupa Care Services Director of Quality, Leanne Morton, says there is no one size fits all approach to caring for people with dementia, and services need to be adapted to meet individual needs.


“Every person presents differently so we believe it is vital that we directly tailor and adapt our aged care services to what people affected by dementia are telling us.”


As part of its commitment to providing specialist services for its residents, Bupa Care Services is tomorrow opening its 15th specialised garden for people with dementia at its Narwee facility in southern Sydney, with plans to open another three over the next few months.


Ms Morton says the gardens provide destinations for people with dementia to participate in activities from their past – tasks that they may have undertaken in their own backyards.


“The ‘Backyards’ concept includes destinations which are familiar and comfortable to people. Bupa Narwee’s ‘backyard’ includes a mailbox, raised garden beds, a clothesline, Dad’s Shed and a chicken coop. These elements are designed to engage people with dementia, involving them in familiar domestic activities.”


Ms Morton believes the ‘backyard’ will bring huge benefits to all residents, especially those with dementia.


“We know that spending time in a garden is very effective for improving levels of depression, physical health and mobility and is especially good for reducing anxiety in people with dementia.”


Ms Pieters-Hawke agrees, and is pleased by the efforts being made to improve the lives of Australians with dementia.


“Too often people with dementia are deprived of opportunities to be stimulated, engaged and involved in life. Places like this garden will enable people with dementia to engage in enjoyable and purposeful activities, which will not only help ease anxiety but enhance quality of life as well.


“It is important to remind ourselves that people with dementia are still fully alive. Too often I see people with dementia suffering from neglect. We need to view the world through their eyes and find new ways to enhance their enjoyment of living.”



The survey of 1,011 Australians aged 50 and over was carried out by AddedValue market research during November 2010. It follows similar research undertaken in November 2009, and is the second part of an ongoing research project by Bupa Care Services, designed to map trends in Australian attitudes to ageing over a period of several years.


About Bupa Care

  • Bupa Care is the second largest private aged care provider in Australia with 47 facilities across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia and ACT.

  • Bupa is a leading international healthcare company. Established in 1947, it has over ten million

  • customers in more than 190 countries and employs over 52,000 people around the world.

  • Around 65% of people living in Bupa Care facilitates are diagnosed as having some form of dementia.


15 March 2011.