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This NAIDOC Week, Dementia Australia was proud to recognise Dementia Advocate Kevyn Morris, and the many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live with dementia, care for someone with dementia, or use their voice to advocate on behalf of people with the condition.
As a member of the Dementia Australia Advisory Committee since 2017, Kevyn Morris has been a strong advocate for people living with dementia. A retired furniture maker, artist and an experienced businessman, Kevyn was diagnosed with dementia in 2015.
“I didn’t know what use I would be, but I wanted to help and do something tangible to prove I still had something to contribute,” Kevyn said.
Kevyn is passionate about encouraging others to participate in advocacy and research. He recently gave the opening address at the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research’s Australian Dementia Forum and received a standing ovation for his speech from an audience of more than 400 dementia researchers, health and aged care professionals and community development workers.
“Indigenous culture is a large part of my family’s life,” Kevyn said.
“Indigenous people make up two per cent of Australia’s population, but we have a shorter life expectancy than most other Australians.
“My hope is that more of our Indigenous family will be able to participate in advocacy and research with organisations like Dementia Australia in order to learn and share that knowledge with other Indigenous people.”
For Kevyn, being a member of the Dementia Australia Advisory Committee has helped to give him a platform to share his experience and remain active in the community. Since receiving his diagnosis, Kevyn has taken up photography as a way to keep his mind active and has taken photos at many Dementia Australia events.
“I never expected to get dementia and was unprepared for its changes. I also never expected to be able to show things through my eyes or mind by way of my photos,” he said.
“If there was one thing that I would like to remind people about people living with dementia, it’s that outwardly we are still the same person. What you can’t see is that the person you know is still here, we just don’t know how to tell you.”
For information about the Dementia Advocates program, please visit https://dementia.org.au/about-us/dementia-advocates-program or email [email protected]