Dementia advocate changing the way we talk about dementia

Christine Bryden will be speaking at A Night of Stars Gala Dinner on Saturday 25 February. To book your tickets click here.

Two decades on, Christine Bryden, a Ningi local, continues to defy her diagnosis of dementia and reshape the way we think about Australia’s second leading cause of death, while advocating strongly for others in the community.

When she was diagnosed with dementia in 1995, Christine was 46, recently divorced with three children and working as a senior scientific advisor for the Australian Government.

At the time she faced isolation, very little support and a lack of understanding within the community. Since then, Christine has advocated passionately, helping to reshape traditional dementia care as well as helping to break down the stigma associated with the condition.

“A lot of stigma still exists around dementia," says Christine. "People often say 'you don't look like you have dementia' but how am I supposed to look?

“In the last 20 years I’ve learnt that that you can live a new life in the slow lane of dementia!”

Since her diagnosis, Christine has also published a series of books documenting her personal experiences, including her most recent memoir, Before I Forget, in the hope of inspiring and educating others.

As Christine’s cognitive function continues to decline with the advancement of her condition, she hopes to leave behind a legacy through the sale of her books, with all of the royalties donated to Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) as a bequest in her will. She also strongly encourages anyone who might be thinking of leaving a bequest, to join Alzheimer’s Australia Qld's Christine Bryden Bequest Society.

“I would like to do everything I can to continue supporting and advocating for others. Most of us know at least someone who has been affected by dementia. It might be a parent, a grandparent or a sibling,” said Christine.

“If you and your family have been impacted by dementia, one way that you can show your support is to leave a bequest in your will. It is not something many people like to think about and easy to put off, but it is really heart-warming to know that you will continue helping people once you are gone.”

Christine, who was appointed a Member in the Order of Australia this year for significant service to community health through support for people with dementia, will be speaking at a fundraising gala for Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) on Saturday February 25 at the Stamford Plaza in Brisbane.

She will be joined by other inspirational speakers including Channel 7’s Pat WeIsh, Olympic champions Cate and Bronte Campbell and keynote speaker Ita Buttrose AO, OBE.

“I believe that a diagnosis of dementia does not preclude positive living, joyful experiences and loving relationships,” said Ita, who is Dementia Australia's National Ambassador.

“People with dementia need support that takes into account their preferences, their goals, and what their life was like before they got a diagnosis. They have the same human rights as everyone else in the community.”

“No one should face dementia alone and thousands of people with dementia, their carers and loved ones need our support today. Dementia Australia is committed to the goal of making Australia a dementia-friendly country where people with dementia are treated with respect and made to feel valued members of the community in which they live."

All event proceeds will help Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) to provide vital programs and services for people with dementia, their carers and families in urgent need of support.

 

To book your tickets please click here

Purchase two tickets to A night of Stars for the chance to join Ita Buttrose at an intimate lunch event on Friday 24 February. View competition Terms and Conditions.

 

Support available
Alzheimer’s Australia provides individualised information and support to improve the quality of life for people with younger onset dementia. For more information you can call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit www.fightdementia.org.au

What is dementia?
Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning. It is a broad term used to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning. There are many types of dementia including Alzheimer’s diseasevascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy Body disease. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65.

About Younger Onset Dementia
Younger onset dementia is a term used to describe the onset of symptoms of dementia before the age of 65. Based on research evidence, it is estimated that more than 26,600 people in Australia have younger onset dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia is the peak body for people with dementia and their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 353,800 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than half a million by 2030.
 

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