Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people experience dementia at a rate 3 to 5 times higher than the general population. They’re also more likely to develop dementia at a younger age (in their 30s or 40s). It’s vital to increase awareness among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the health professionals who work with them, about dementia prevention and support services and resources currently available.
The Australian Indigenous Health InfoNet contains information as well as publications, policies, resources and organisations related to dementia. They provide information about and links to over 50 resources including:
- Caring for Spirit: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders online dementia education developed in conjunction with Neuroscience Research Australia.
- Communications cards for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with dementia developed in conjunction with Dementia Support Australia.
The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has 144 member organisations providing primary care in urban regional and remote Australia. They range from large multi-functional services employing several medical practitioners and providing a wide range of services, to small services which rely on Aboriginal Health Workers and/or nurses to provide the bulk of primary care services, often with a preventive, health education focus.
My Aged care, which provides assessments and care packages, including help at home services, is available for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or older.
Dementia Australia has a series of help sheets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about memory changes, dementia signs and symptoms, diagnosis of dementia, information for family and Alzheimer’s disease. They have a video series, Your Story Matters:
- Part 1 explains the importance of brain health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to lead a healthy life and keep stories alive for generations.
- Part 2 explains what you can do to lead a brain healthy life and reduce your risk of dementia.
Dementia Australia also a video Looking out for Dementia developed to inform Indigenous people living in remote communities of Northern Territory about dementia. This video is in English and three Indigenous languages; Djambarrapuyngu, Warlpiri and Kriol.
Advance Care Planning Australia have resources to assist with planning for an end-of-life journey that is inclusive of individual preferences, values and beliefs, and their cultural heritage.
Dementia Training Australia have resources to support the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People living with dementia including the Indigenous Aged Care Design Guide and a video/presentation for members.
With thanks to Darcelle Wu at the University of Wollongong for reviewing this content.
For information on Close the Gap Day 2022
National Close the Gap Day is Thursday 17 March 2022. The aim of the day is to bring people together to share information and take meaningful action in support of achieving health equality for First Nations Peoples.
For more information, visit ANTaR, a national advocacy organisation dedicated specifically to the rights, and overcoming the disadvantage, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.