Celebrities combine forces and voices to support people impacted by dementia, plus National Dementia Helpline now 24/7

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Celebrity supporters, Ambassadors, Patron Ita Buttrose AC OBE and a person living with dementia have combined forces and lent their voices to an audiobook version of Dementia Australia’s Dementia Guide.  

The Dementia Guide is the go-to online resource for any person impacted by any form of dementia, of any age, in any location across Australia,” Ms Buttrose said. 

“Speaking for the voices team, I know we have all been thrilled to contribute to The Dementia Guide Audiobook to increase the accessibility to vital information about dementia and the support available. 

“Each person who has shared their voice has had an experience of dementia in their family and we have done this to raise awareness and help others to know they are not alone and that there is support available.” 

Dementia Australia Ambassadors and voices Natarsha Belling, Stephanie Bendixsen, Takaya Honda, Mark Seymour, Denis Walter OAM, Pat Welsh and celebrity supporters Rhonda Burchmore OAM and Geraldine Hickey wholeheartedly echo Ita’s words and have enthusiastically backed the project. 

Not just for people living with dementia, The Dementia Guide is also for friends, families and carers, and talks to the impact dementia may have on a person, the treatment, support and services they may need, and how loved ones can provide support.  

Stephanie Bendixsen, video game critic and television presenter, said she added her voice to the audiobook as she sees the value in a more accessible resource for families, such as hers, who need to navigate life with dementia.  

“My mother passed away from Alzheimer's disease in 2018, and we really knew so little about dementia when she was diagnosed,” Ms Bendixsen said.   

“This made it difficult to understand why certain things were happening with her behaviourally, and we struggled to understand what was truly going on inside her brain, how her physicality was affected and how best we could support her and my Dad, her main carer, as a family.  

“Resources like this are so very valuable, and their accessibility even more so. Even though I consider myself a big reader - finding the time to sit down and read a book can be tricky when you have a busy lifestyle. I switched to audiobooks years ago so that I can absorb books while I'm driving, walking the dog, doing chores - it's been life-changing. An easily accessible resource like this would have made a wonderful difference to me and my family when we were coming to terms with how Mum's - and our lives - would change.”   

The audiobook includes a welcome from Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM and a chapter recorded by Ann Pietsch, who is a Dementia Advocate and lives with dementia.  

“I was invited to read one of the chapters and I personally think that The Dementia Guide is a valuable resource, making it available as an audio book is a great idea as it will now be easily available to more people living with dementia, carers, and families and the wider public,” Mrs Pietsch said. 

Ann speaks to the value of The Dementia Guide in her own personal circumstances when she was first diagnosed with dementia.  

“I would have been able to effortlessly pass on the details of the audiobook to my children and family and friends, so they could learn about dementia and my specific dementia, and the issues I might face whilst living with dementia. Then in their own time they could have chosen to listen to reliable dementia information and used any of the resources.”  

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said The Dementia Guide Audiobook is an important addition to our suite of support services and resources ensuring more people are able to access the support they need at a time that suits them. 

“Dementia Australia exists to empower people living with dementia, their families and carers to understand dementia and to manage their diagnosis on their terms,” Ms McCabe said.  

“We are committed to increasing accessibility to our services and the National Dementia Helpline, 1800 100 500, operated by Dementia Australia, is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If someone has a diagnosis of dementia, or mild cognitive impairment, or is concerned about changes to their or a loved one’s cognition, Dementia Australia is here for them.  

“There is no reason too small, no issue too big and no time too late. This is a gamechanger because no one should have to face dementia alone at any time of day or night. 

“The National Dementia Helpline and The Dementia Guide are both invaluable and much-needed resources, especially as the number of people living with dementia is expected to grow from half a million Australians today, to more than one million by 2058.” 

Ms Bendixsen said sometimes there are scenarios that don't warrant an emergency or doctor response or there are moments when we need to reach out and feel we don’t want to burden others – through the night, the early morning, or times when family is busy or unavailable.  

“I think when carers or people living with dementia find themselves in a moment of panic, or indecision, or confusion - it's so hard to know where to turn first. A dementia diagnosis can be a frightening, lonely road for many people - and this Helpline will serve as a lantern in the fog. This Helpline is an invaluable resource and for many people even just knowing it is there will mean the world,” she said. 

Dementia Australia provides support and information to all Australians, of any age, impacted by all forms of dementia, including mild cognitive impairment, in any location across Australia. Ongoing support and information is available at every stage from pre, during and post-diagnosis. This includes support for people with concerns about changes in memory and thinking. 

The National Dementia Helpline, staffed by a highly-trained team, is a free 24/7 telephone service which provides information and support to people living with dementia, people concerned about changes to memory and thinking, people living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), family, friends and carers of people living with dementia and people who work in health and aged care.  

By contacting Dementia Australia, you will have access to timely, reliable and expert information, advice and a wide range of programs to support you and your family and friends to live well with dementia. The National Dementia Helpline 24/7 service is available by phone, email or through our online chat function. Listen to and download The Dementia Guide free at dementia.org.au/resources/the-dementia-guide

Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated half a million Australians living with dementia, and the almost 1.6 million people involved in their care. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible. No matter how you are impacted by dementia or who you are, we are here for you. 

For support, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. An interpreter service is available. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Australian Government. People looking for information can also visit dementia.org.au  

-Ends- 

Media contacts: Peta Leveritt-Baker, Media and Communications Manager, peta.leveritt-baker@dementia.org.au, 0474 137 295 and Stephanie Taylor-Watkins, Senior Media Advisor, s.taylor-watkins@dementia.org.au, 0423 936 371

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines.