What is dementia?
Dementia is a syndrome (a collection of symptoms) caused by disorders impacting the brain.  It can affect thinking, behaviour, language, memory, personality, and the ability to perform everyday tasks.  Over time, a person with dementia may grow steadily more dependent on others  while brain changes can lead to expressions of agitation, anxiety, depressed mood, apathy, or aggression.  Changes in a person’s personality or behaviour might also stem from pain, stress, or frustration or fear of being unable to communicate needs.  As people with dementia have unique histories, experiences and needs, how these changes present will differ from person to person. 
Dementia in Australia
Dementia is a major health care issue in Australia with an estimated 400,000 people currently living with the condition.  It is also a terminal condition and a main cause of death for both men and women in Australia.  As the risk of dementia rises with age, the number of people affected by dementia is expected to increase as more Australians reach older age in the coming decades.  This is likely to place a significant burden on health and social care services while impacting on the lives of individuals, their friends, and families. 
Dementia in aged care
Aged care services are a critical resource for people with dementia and their carers.  Over half the people living in residential care are living with dementia.  Around 80% of them will be classed as having high care needs, especially in the areas of cognition, verbal and physical behaviours, and activities of daily living such as mobility, continence, and nutrition. [9, 11]
A larger proportion of people with dementia (around 65%) are thought to be living at home where many are cared for by unpaid carers, often family members.  Some (14%) live alone.  Aged care can provide home support or home care services to help people continue living at home. This support ranges from help with shopping, cooking, and cleaning to assistance with self-care, property maintenance, transport, continence, home safety, assistive equipment and nursing and allied health services.  People in the community may also be eligible for short-term residential respite.