Dementia care and health insurance - what you need to know

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How health insurance can help with dementia care

Those suffering with dementia become unable to function on their own and may require round the clock care. To help with their day-to-day, home nurses or residential aged care facilities can accommodate the unique needs of the dementia sufferers.

However, there could be additional medical or health requirements that might be critical to dementia care such as:

  • Medications (cholinesterase inhibitors, memantine, risperidone)
  • Cognitive and neurological evaluations such as brain scans
  • Laboratory blood tests
  • In-patient psychiatric care
  • Occupational therapy
  • Counseling to manage stress

All of the above services can be covered (at least partially) by private hospital covers and extras covers .

Early intervention can make a huge difference in dementia advancement and thus having faster access to hospital treatments and doctor visits, which private health insurance policies offer, is critical. Especially in the later stage of dementia, hospitalisation may be a common part of the health care needs. Ensuring you have coverage for these expensive benefits could pay off greatly for when you actually need them. Use our comprehensive search engine to find covers that offer the relevant benefits.

Support resources for dementia sufferers and their carers

There are many support resources and services offered by federal, state, and territory governments as well as nonprofits and medical industry associations.

Counseling &Education

  • National Dementia Helpline: Dementia sufferers and their carers can call 1800 100 500 to get advice on services available for dementia care and schedule counseling sessions
  • Dementia Australia: DA offers social support programs in various locations across Australia to help dementia sufferers use active social interactions to improve their memory
  • MoneySmart: Helpful guidelines for important financial and legal arrangements that will give dementia sufferers a peace of mind and allow them to protect themselves from financial abuse

Aged Care Homes for Dementia Sufferers

  • Specialist Dementia Care Program (SDCP): Government funding to develop living environments dedicated to dementia sufferers (currently in phase 1 of development and only in limited locations in NSW, VIC, SA, ACT, and QLD)

Support for Carers

  • Care Allowance or Care Payment: Government-funded payments to carers who look after those suffering serious illness or disabilities (or fragile aged) and meet the income/asset test
  • Respite Care: Short-term or emergency care (in-home, community centres, or aged care homes) for dementia sufferers so primary carers can take a break
  • Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS): Free advisory support for carers with care planning, supervision of clinical treatments, care best practices, environmental setup, and translation/interpretation for families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Dementia Training Australia: Training for GPs and personal care workers to better accommodate special needs for dementia care

Health Services and Rebates

  • Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service (VIC only): Free clinical diagnosis and treatment recommendations from medical experts for those experiencing memory or cognitive issues
  • Centrelink: A range of government payments and services for retirees, seniors, and critically impaired/ill Australian residents including the Disability Support Pension and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Clinical Trial Opportunities: Various registries or databases of clinical trials for new treatments or medicines
    • Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry
    • Medicines Australia
    • ISRCTN (International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number) - clinical trials available globally