We’ve been on quite a journey over the last 12 months in Australia on the path to unification, something which has been discussed as a possibility within governments – federal and state, among consumers and our partners over quite a few years. This has intensified over the last year to become a reality, and all have welcomed and applauded our move towards unification and significantly, our name change to Dementia Australia.
So much so, the Federal Government contributed $1.5 million to assist in the transition. I wish to thank the federal government for their support, and their genuine excitement about the change, as they too are partners in our cause to serve all people impacted by dementia.
The support we have had from Board members around the country, from CEOs and from their leadership teams who have demonstrated a professionalism and a commitment focused solely on better outcomes for the people we are here to serve has been exemplary.
This includes all the staff and volunteers around Australia. I know that through this momentous change process, at our grassroots level, e the day to day services and programs that make a difference to the lives of so many people have been at the forefront of our attention and the transition has been seamless in this regard.
This is also what I and my colleagues have been conscious of all along – never losing sight of what is at our core – to be here for all people impacted by dementia. What stands out for me is that the formality of unification has preceded functionality. And it is early days, but we are now well on the way to developing the functional element.
As a result of unification there will be boundless opportunities for partnerships. With the 3500 residential aged care providers and 2500 retirement villages – that is, already, 6000 providers of services to the aged and healthcare sector, also, with Primary Healthcare Networks, with clinical practitioners and health professionals networks - unimaginable partnerships are awaiting us.
We’re already working closely with some, and as Dementia Australia we will be inviting all to work with us to build programs to improve care, bring about timely diagnosis and elevate awareness of the supports that are available. We are aware that better and more coordinated services are needed.
We know more and more people are wanting to stay at home where they are comfortable and familiar, can have their families and friends around them, and maintain their lifestyles and what’s important to them, as much as possible. We know with good support that this contributes to better health outcomes for all and to healthier communities.
We will constantly be a strong advocate for and with consumers in the process, while also working alongside our research community as we all work together towards improving care, delaying the onset and finding a cure for all forms of dementia.
Our name change is about bringing all the dementias together, making sure no one feels left out – it’s about everyone knowing we are here for them – for you.
Dementia is everyone’s business and Dementia Australia is for everyone.