CEO Report

It’s an exciting and busy time at Dementia Australia with preparations for Dementia Awareness Month in September underway.

Maree McCabeThe theme ‘You Are Not Alone’ is especially significant this year as we prepare to launch Australia’s first Dementia Friendly Communities Program – the culmination of many years’ work in this area by Dementia Australia and a number of communities across the country that have embraced dementia-friendly initiatives and participated in trial and pilot programs.

There will be a number of fantastic events held throughout Australia for Dementia Awareness Month, which aims to increase awareness and understanding of dementia - a condition that currently affects more than 413,000 Australians.

Through increased education awareness and understanding, communities and individuals can come together and learn how to better support people living with dementia and their carers. It is imperative that people living with dementia are supported to continue to live active and engaged lives within their communities for as long as possible while decreasing the stigma, isolation and loneliness so many tell us they experience with a diagnosis of dementia.

Dementia Australia is delighted to welcome our Dementia Awareness Month International Guest Speaker - Emeritus Professor Steven Sabat of Psychology at Georgetown University.

For the past 35 years, Professor Sabat has studied the intact cognitive and social abilities of people with Alzheimer’s disease in the moderate to severe stages, the persistence of selfhood, the subjective experience of having the disease, and how communication between persons diagnosed and their caregivers may be enhanced.  

Professor Sabat will visit Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne - details of those visits will be available on the Dementia Australia website shortly.

Preparations are also underway for the 17th Dementia Australia Biennial National Conference .

Be the Change’ will be held in Melbourne from 17-20 October and has attracted a fabulous line-up of international and national speakers including Kate Swaffer, Christine Bryden, Professor Henry Brodaty AO, Professor Sue Kurrle, Professor Dawn Brooker from the UK and Dr Cameron Camp from the USA, just to name a few.

Dementia Australia looks forward to welcoming you to the National Conference in October.   

The process of moving to a single unified organisation is progressing well. A little over 12 months ago, the Dementia Australia Board made a commitment to begin the process of working toward a unified model. 

Much has been done since that time to move toward unification with the appointment of myself as national CEO, the establishment of a Unification Project Team and Executive Team.

The Unification Project Workstream Leads and Executive Directors have been fulfilling the transition plans, while State, Territory and National Boards work towards the governance changes required to move toward the new unified model.

The Australian Government has contributed $1.5 million to assist Dementia Australia with the unification process. Dementia Australia is very grateful to the Department of Health for their financial assistance and commitment to supporting both the organisation and transition to a unified organisation. 

Dementia Australia will unveil the new look entity at the National Conference in October.

Kind regards

Maree McCabe
Dementia Australia