Media Releases

This New Year, Alzheimer’s Australia is urging Australians to be proactive and to do all they can to improve their overall health in 2016 by making a serious commitment to improving their brain health. Alzheimer’s Australia National President, Professor Graeme Samuel said there were things we could all do to reduce the risk of dementia, regardless of age, and encouraged everyone to embrace the 5 simple steps to maximise brain health in 2016.

As the festive season approaches, Maree McCabe CEO Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is urging families, carers and friends of people with dementia to be inspired to create a dementia-friendly festive season, where their loved ones with dementia are supported to be involved in the festivities.

Ms McCabe said encouraging people with dementia to participate in activities such as wrapping presents or perhaps setting the table will help them to feel included in amongst all the hustle and bustle of a family gathering.

“Perhaps printing out the lyrics to a few Christmas carols and having a sing-a-long, saving a few Christmas tree decorations to hang or cutting up some old Christmas cards and wrapping paper and making a collage with the children. A little preparation will help everyone to engage.” Ms McCabe said.

As the festive season approaches, it is an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, but you may also notice changes in a person’s thinking and behaviour. Carol Bennett, CEO Alzheimer’s Australia said while the festive season was a time for families to come together and celebrate, it was also a time to be mindful of the symptoms of dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes the government’s review of mental health services ensuring a 'no wrong door' approach to people experiencing mental health issues to ensure they get the specialist help they need.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s world-first Virtual Dementia Experience™ was recognised for exceptional leadership and excellence in providing public health services to and for the Victorian community this week.

At a gala ceremony on Wednesday, the Virtual Dementia Experience™ was awarded first place for “Excellence in person, family and community-centred care” at the Victorian Public Healthcare Awards presented by Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jill Hennessy.

Launched in October 2013, the Virtual Dementia Experience™ is an immersive, interactive virtual reality experience that invades the senses and takes people into the world of a person living with dementia, simulating thoughts, fears and challenges. It has been experienced by more than 2,000 people including professional and family carers, healthcare professionals, high profile business and community leaders and Victorian and Federal politicians.

Thursday 12 November 2015

People with dementia join forces to Engage, Enable and Empower all those living with a diagnosis

Meet Maureen, Gwladys, Peter, Iolanda, George, Huong, Rose, Jim, Geoff, Athena, Peter, Colin, Maxine and Trish – they’re living with dementia and they want to share their stories to help others to know they are not alone. Their wish is to inspire others to make the most of living with dementia.

Identifying the right genes involved in dementia could be the breakthrough researchers are looking for to treat the debilitating disease, which is expected to affect 900,000 Australians by 2050.

Sixty percent of Australians over 65 have three or more chronic conditions, according to the latest Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) Report, Alzheimer's Australia CEO Carol Bennett said we need a comprehensive approach to education and information across general practice, primary health care, acute care and the aged care sector, to support our ageing population experiencing chronic illness.

Alzheimer’s Australia ambassador Sue Pieters-Hawke will visit Melbourne tomorrow to share her unique insights into the support available to carers of people with dementia.

Ms Pieters-Hawke cared for her mother Hazel Hawke, who died from dementia in 2013, and is the author of Hazel’s Journey; the story of her mother’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease, and Hazel – My Mother’s Story; a biography.

Of her experience caring for her mother, Ms Pieters-Hawke has said “It is a step by step process and you need help. You learn from other people and you ask questions. Dementia Australia runs programs for carers and people with the disease to learn to cope with the memory loss. There are lots of things around to help you to cope. There is nothing that takes away the sadness, but there are things that help you to cope”.

As our population ages, and more of us survive the diseases of mid-life, it is likely that more of us will experience dementia. One in five of us over the age of 65 can develop dementia, yet only one in three over 65 who do develop dementia can expect to be correctly diagnosed.

Without timely diagnosis, what chance do we have to access appropriate interventions and treatment? 

More than $40 million will be shared among seventy-six new, early career researchers working to find a cure and innovative therapies for Dementia, as part of the Australian Government’s $200 million commitment to boost Australian dementia research. Director of the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (Dementia Institute), Professor John McCallum, warmly welcomed today’s announcement.

Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes the announcement of $43 million in new funding to be shared among seventy-six new researchers for dementia research announced by The Minister for Health, The Hon. Sussan Ley as part of the Australian Government’s $200 million commitment to boost dementia research. 

This week is National Carers Week. An estimated 1.2 million Australians are caring for a person with dementia. By 2029 Australia faces a shortage of more than 150,000 paid and unpaid carers for people with dementia. Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said providing care for a person living with dementia can be a challenging role that may have substantial impacts on the wellbeing of the carer and called for more support and services for carers to reduce some of the negative impacts of caring such as social isolation, increased poverty, illness and carer burn-out.

8 October 2015

Media Alert – Photo Opportunity

Up to 300 locals will be supporting Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s Memory Walk & Jog in Bendigo on Sunday.

The community fundraising event is part of Alzheimer’s Australia Vic’s efforts to raise awareness of dementia across Victoria, where there is currently more than 81,000 people living with dementia.

Many people are not aware that dementia is a mental health issue.  Dementia also often presents with comorbidities such as depression and anxiety which need to be managed together. Depressive symptoms occur in approximately 40-50% of people with Alzheimer’s disease. There is a view that depression in midlife could indicate increased risk of dementia in later life.

By 2050 the number of people over 60 is expected to double globally according to the new “World report on ageing and health 2015” released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The number of people living with dementia in Australia is expected to reach almost 900,000 by this date. 

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO, Carol Bennett said “it is very encouraging to see that what the WHO’s report is calling for, is so closely aligned with what Alzheimer’s Australia has been advocating for - a National Dementia Strategy for Australia."

Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes the news that The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for Health and Sport is now also Minister for Aged Care.

Alzheimer’s Australia National President, Professor Graeme Samuel AC said it is very positive that the nexus between aged care and health is being recognised.  Professor Samuel said it is encouraging to hear Minister Ley say she put her hand up to “bring responsibility for aged care back to health and give it a seat at the cabinet table.”

“As the second leading cause of death in Australia, dementia is no longer an aged care issue, it is a priority health issue.” Professor Samuel said.

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO, Carol Bennett said, “having aged care and health in the one Ministry will better ensure the needs of people with dementia are at the forefront of health and well-being policy debates. The experience of dementia is largely informed by the response of the health system and the broader community. It should not be relegated to just being an issue of ageing or aged care. The vast majority of people living with dementia are in the community. This includes more than 25,000 people under 65 years of age who have younger onset dementia.”

Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes the appointment of The Hon. Christian Porter MP to the role of Minister for Social Services.

Alzheimer’s Australia National President Professor Graeme Samuel said it was pleasing to have a Minister of Mr Porter’s calibre in the role.

“Alzheimer’s Australia is looking forward to working with Mr Porter on the issues that affect more than 342,000 Australians living with dementia, their families and carers,” Professor Samuel said.

“That figure is expected to reach more than half a million people by 2030. A National Dementia Strategy is urgently needed for a holistic approach to tackle dementia in Australia.”

Alzheimer’s Australia welcomes the opportunity to be part of this international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma about dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO, Carol Bennett said “having a globally coordinated awareness day sends a strong message to governments and policy makers alerting them of the serious implications dementia has on services and health systems around the world.”

According to the 2015 World Alzheimer’s Report which was released in the lead up to World Alzheimer’s Day, the current annual cost of dementia is US $818 billion, and is expected to become a trillion dollar disease in just three years’ time.

Affinity, a massive, interactive light sculpture representing the brain will, for the next ten days, take over the Forecourt, St Kilda Road, at Arts Centre Melbourne as a way of visually and physically engaging with the public to help them to better understand the importance of connectivity and interactivity for our brain health.