Cost of providing care for people with dementia

nurse with elderly smiling woman sitting

A CDPC funded project has found that the annual cost of caring for a person living with dementia in residential aged care is $88,000. This figure, which is higher than previous estimates, was based on a study of 541 individuals across 17 residential aged care homes.

“Our research findings have considerable implications for future service planning within Australia’s aged care sector,” says senior researcher and co-author of the study, Dr Suzanne Dyer from Flinders University.

“Given the majority of costs incurred by people living with dementia in residential care are borne by either the Australian or state governments, our findings are significant for informed, reliable policymaking,” says Dr Gnanamanickam, lead author on the paper and co-researcher.

In Australia, over half of the permanent residents living in residential aged care are likely to have dementia. The direct costs for a person living with dementia in a care setting in Australia have recently been estimated as $55 904 for the first year after diagnosis and $23 810 for subsequent years.

The study found that pharmaceutical costs accounted for the largest proportion of health care costs with 54% for those with dementia and 42% for those without dementia. General practitioner attendances and hospital (admission and emergency presentation) costs accounted for 23% and 16% of health care costs, respectively.

The study titled ‘Direct health and residential care costs of people living with dementia in Australian residential aged care’ is available for download International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 2018;1–8.