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Issue #1689      June 17, 2015


Younger onset dementia affects about 24,000 Australians. By definition, any dementia under 65 is classified as an early onset one. In reality there are many much younger dementia patients; the condition may develop in people in their 50s, 40s or even 30s. One can only imagine the huge impact it has on their families – partners and children. It’s not only one person affected – it’s the whole new way of life which changes how a family works. It is extremely important that professional help is provided in these circumstances. One of the programs that is doing this at the moment is called The Key Worker program. It gives specialised one-to-one support to people under 65 with dementia; the key worker acts as an advocate and primary contact for people with early onset dementia and their families. The program has been described by patients as having a transformative influence on their lives. But this program will lose its funding when the National Disability Insurance Scheme starts in July next year. It may mean that younger people with dementia will have to go into residential care – not a good outcome for either the patients or their families.

The Abbott government has cut $11 billion from its overall overseas aid budget since coming to power. The cuts will have devastating effects in many countries. Myanmar will be one of those losing nearly $55 million from its healthcare programs. The programs included child and maternity health, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. It’s a mean measure which will impact not only on the health and well-being of the aid recipients. Global exchanges and travel nowadays make health issues global. Even from a purely selfish point of view it pays to invest money in better health round the world. Australia is a wealthy country compared to many others and can easily afford to contribute to people’s wellbeing. Cuts to aid will affect many Australian volunteers who are working with the Red Cross, Australian Volunteers International and Scope Global as their government-funded programs are on hold as well. They are funded through the Australian Volunteers for International Development program and their funding was cut by $24 million to $39 million. The Abbott government ‘s aid cuts are extremely embarrassing for a rich country like Australia.

Potentiality is a computer program which is being used by some of Sydney’s elite private schools to track information about potential donors. The software builds profiles on each donor, stores every email from a parent to a school fundraising body, their donation history, volunteering history – in other words, all the information they can gather to get some extra cash and boost profits. Somehow it does not feel right, does it? Creepy is the word I was looking for.

Next article – Region Briefs

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