Welcome, as we come to you as Dementia Australia. The newly unified, bigger, stronger, bolder voice of Dementia Australia.
Our 17th Dementia Australia Biennial National Dementia Conference was held from 17-20 October in Melbourne this year. It was at this event that our chair, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, officially launched Dementia Australia.
The conference had the theme of “Be the Change”, and included a series of workshops and speakers, both local and international, including Naomi Feil, Developer of the Validation Method, Dr Cameron Camp, Director of Research, Center for Applied Research in Dementia, Ohio USA and Kate Swaffer, Chair, CEO and co-founder of Dementia Alliance International. They were four inspiring days full of inspiring speakers, extraordinary networking and a focus on transformation of care to improve the quality care and lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers.
The theme prompts us to remember that we all need to Be the Change required to achieve transformation across the sector.
We are excited that our dementia friendly communities’ project continues to expand. This is an important step in encouraging our community including businesses to become dementia friendly, allowing all people living with dementia to live a life with meaning and purpose.
To coincide with the launch of Dementia Australia, the new voice of Dementia Australia, a survey was commissioned into Australians understanding of dementia by Dementia Australia. The results of the survey, conducted by IPSOS Australia, had an alarmingly low response to the understanding of dementia within the general community.
More than half the survey respondents did not understand the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia; almost 40 per cent of respondents did not know that dementia is not a normal part of ageing, while 39 per cent of people agreed they felt awkward around someone with dementia. As well, 41 per cent of respondents said they found talking to someone with dementia confronting.
These results show that as a country, there is still a great need to increase people’s knowledge and awareness, not only of dementia and what it is, but how it effects every single Australian and what we can all do to help reduce the risk of dementia and increase awareness and support for those living with and caring for people living with dementia.
As we head into the festive season, I ask that you consider a contribution towards our Christmas appeal. Your donation helps to fund our great many support services, research and advocacy. I want to thank you and acknowledge you for the difference you make to the lives of people impacted by dementia.
I wish you all the best for a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you at some of our upcoming events in 2018.