TURNING THE STATS AROUND: Aged Care and Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt.
TURNING THE STATS AROUND: Aged Care and Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt. Anna Rogers

Researching Indigenous dementia to tackle rising statistics

INDIGENOUS Australian seniors are three times more likely to experience dementia than other Australians.

This high rate of dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will be targeted by five ground-breaking research projects, aiming to boost dementia prevention and slow its onset.

The Turnbull Government allocated $14 million through the National Health and Medical Research Council towards these dementia projects.

Aged Care Minister and Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said these were fundamental to close the gap in health equality.

"From physical fitness to brain training, we expect this research to generate information that will translate directly into improved health outcomes and a better quality of life for Aboriginal Australians with dementia,” he said.

One in eight indigenous seniors may be affected by dementia, preliminary data from the Kimberley suggests, Minister Wyatt said.

The dementia research projects will cover dementia prevention courses in Aboriginal communities, intensive risk management and developing online support tools for decreasing dementia.

The research projects, funded by the government, are designed to fast-track interventions and treatment, keeping Australia at the forefront of this field, he said.

"This work is crucial because our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders are our living libraries and losing each individual means a precious book of knowledge is lost forever,” Minister Wyatt said.

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