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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : November 2006
fessional EMENTIANET is a new service launched to help families living with dementia. It provides tailored infor- mation and personal online support from qualified doctors and others expe- riencing similar issues. New service for people living with dementia D DementiaNet is the first Australian website to offer interactive support for families affected by dementia and has been launched by 51-year-old barrister Michael d’Arbon, who has Alzheimer’s disease. The launch of the site follows consulta- tion with leading Australian psychogeria- tricians, GPs and carers. The initiative is supported by Alzheimer’s Australia. The website was developed by the Lundbeck Institute. More than 200,000 Australians have been diagnosed with dementia and the time bomb of the ageing population means that these numbers will more than double within 45 years. Millions more will be affected because they will be caring for a person with dementia. A recent Access Economics Report warned Australia is on the brink of a dementia epidemic. A feature of the website is a letterbox where people can anonymously submit questions to a qualified medical panel. The emphasis of this letterbox is to pro- vide balanced medical information and support, not online treatment. The diaries allow people to share experiences and lessen the burden of isolation. During its trial phase, typical questions on DementiaNet included: • Is dementia hereditary? • What can we do about it in terms of treatment and other options? • Can I slow it down? Geriatrician Associate Professor Sue Kurrle, Rehab and Aged Care Service, Hornsby Ku-Ring-Gai Hospital, said: ‘DementiaNet is like nothing else avail- able. It is going to be an extra resource for people who are internet-savvy and most people are these days’. A recent survey conducted by the Alzheimer’s Associations of Europe found that most carers were spending more than 10 hours a day looking after a relative and had insufficient information resources. www.dementianet.com.au ¦