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Dementia and the NDIS

When it comes to dementia and the National Disability Insurance Scheme, there are some ‘must knows’ for both participants and providers. People with early onset dementia are not automatically accepted to the NDIS. In terms of disability, a person needs to prove their condition is both permanent and substantially impacts their functioning. Read on to find out more.

Not all disabilities are visible

When it comes to dementia and the National Disability Insurance Scheme, there are some ‘must knows’ for both participants and providers.

In order to receive NDIS funded supports, a person will need to satisfy the entry criteria including age and disability.

The age restriction to the National Disability Insurance Scheme means a person must apply for entry prior to turning 65 years old. Early onset dementia refers to people aged under 65 years old, who develop a condition that impacts their mental functioning and decision making.

People with early onset dementia are not automatically accepted to the NDIS. In terms of disability, a person needs to prove their condition is both permanent and substantially impacts their functioning.

The National Disability Insurance Agency operates access guidelines. Dementia conditions are contained within List B which includes conditions where functional impact varies between individuals and further reports from specialists will be required.

The NDIA lists dementia related conditions resulting in neurological impairment as well as degenerative diseases of the nervous system including: Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, HIV dementia, Huntington’s disease, Multi-infarct dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Post-polio syndrome, Vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, Alpers disease and Pick’s disease.

A person with any of the above conditions seeking NDIS supports must provide specialist reports, for example from a neurologist, that explain it is permanent, as well as outline past and future treatments and prognosis, and speak directly to a significant impact on functioning.

The National Disability Insurance Agency regularly reports on the numbers of participants by condition – and the most recent report indicates around 5% of participants have a neurological condition which includes dementia. On current numbers there are around 200,000 people with a NDIS plan.

In addition, the NDIS will not pay for health or medical related supports. NDIS will fund supports which help the participant manage ongoing functional impairment that results from their disability.

In terms of the supports likely to be funded by NDIS, a person with dementia and their family or carers need to think about how they may be supported to achieve goals associated with Daily life, Living arrangements, Relationships, Health and wellbeing, Learning, Work, Social and community activities and Choice and control.

Specific NDIS supports might include:

  • Support through the application process to obtain and complete the NDIS Access Request Form.
  • Preparation for a planning meeting with the NDIA planner.
  • Support coordination and plan implementation to help connect with specialist and mainstream services.
  • Building the capacity and understanding of service providers who will be working with the participant.
  • Provision of or assistance with Daily Living tasks including self-care such as eating, dressing, showering and toileting.
  • Therapeutic supports such as Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy or Physiotherapy to assist with strategies to undertake activities independently and safely where possible, or maintain or manage functioning and decline.
  • Assistive equipment including daily living aids such as bed rails, shower chair, GPS devices, and so forth.
  • Assistance with Social and Community Participation including social support, getting out and about, accessing appointments, as well as respite for carers.
  • Support and training for carers and family, peer support groups, behaviour management strategies, and individual employment support.

As always, if you’re just starting you need to contact the National Disability Insurance Agency. When it’s time to connect with relevant providers give us a call on 1300 721 855 and we can guide you through it.

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