Dementia Awareness Month Small Actions Big Difference Roadshow comes to Sydney

Professor Henry Brodaty AO and Associate Professor Michael Woodward AM have been named Dementia Australia’s inaugural Honorary Medical Advisors during a Dementia Awareness Month event in Sydney today.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe officially welcomed Professor Brodaty and Associate Professor Woodward to the positions saying both had long been involved in Dementia Australia, formerly Alzheimer’s Australia, and had made an enormous contribution both to the organisation and, more broadly, to dementia treatment, care and research both in Australia and internationally.

“We are very fortunate to have had both Henry and Michael’s expertise, guidance and support in various capacities for so many years and I am delighted that we can continue the relationship in such a significant way,” Ms McCabe said.

Professor Brodaty has been involved with Dementia Australia, formerly Alzheimer’s Australia, since it was formed more than 35 years ago as one of the founders and as an Honorary Medical Advisor for Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, as a founder and chair of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, formerly the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation, and, more recently as a Patron of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation.

Associate Professor Michael Woodward has also been involved with Dementia Australia, formerly Alzheimer’s Australia, for many years as Chief Medical Advisor to Alzheimer’s Australia Vic and as a Board Member of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation.

The announcement was made at Dementia Australia’s Dementia Awareness Month Small actions Big difference Roadshow in Sydney today.

Along with Ms McCabe, also speaking at the event was Dementia Australia Ambassador singer songwriter Mark Seymour, Dementia Advocates Sebastian Caruso, Jeff Thurlow and Phil Hazell, along with Professor Sharon Naismith MAPS CCN, Leonard P Ullmann Chair in Psychology and NHMRC Dementia Leadership Fellow Charles Perkins Centre, School of Psychology and the Brain and Mind Centre

The Hon. John Watkins AM was also at the event and was named Dementia Australia’s newest Ambassador, joining the likes of Ita Buttrose AB OBE, Natarsha Belling, Doris Younane, Sam Mitchell, Jessica and Lisa Origliasso, Ben Crocker, Nicola Stevens, Takaya Honda, Amy Jackson and more.

Mr Watkins is the former CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW and Deputy Premier of NSW and long been an advocate and voice for people living with dementia.

Ms McCabe said it was wonderful Mr Watkins, whose mother had dementia, could continue his association with the organisation and the cause which he has been so passionate about.

“John has been such a compassionate and articulate advocate for the cause for so long during his time as CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW and we are delighted he is willing to continue to do so in the role of Ambassador,” she said.

Dementia Awareness Month is Dementia Australia’s national awareness-raising campaign held every year.

Ms McCabe said there are more than 425,000 Australians living with dementia - more than 142,000 of which are estimated to be living in the NSW. Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and the leading cause of death of women, yet awareness of the condition remains extremely low.

“People living with dementia tell us they can find it challenging to participate actively in the community due, in part, to a lack of knowledge or understanding of dementia among the general public and how it can impact people,” Ms McCabe said.

“That’s why our Small actions Big difference Roadshow event gave people living with dementia and our Ambassadors, who have been impacted by dementia, the chance to talk about the small actions that can create a big difference for people living with dementia and how, with compassion and understanding you can positively change the life of someone living with dementia.”

Ms McCabe said this year’s Dementia Awareness Month is all about empowering the community to make a positive difference to the lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers through increased awareness and support.

“During Dementia Awareness Month, we are also inviting the community to pledge their support by becoming a Dementia Friend,” she said.

“Becoming a Dementia Friend makes you aware of the small, everyday actions you can do to support people living with dementia to remain included, accepted and connected within their community.

“Through the Dementia Friends program, we want to transform the way we, as a community, think, act and talk about dementia.

“All you need to do is head to www.dementiafriendly.org.au and watch three short videos that explain what dementia is and feature interviews with people impacted by dementia.

“Join us and thousands of others who have already signed up. Start making a difference today.”

Download the Dementia Awareness Month media kit to access key messages, useful information, key facts and statistics on dementia, images and suggested social media images.


Dementia Australia is the national peak body and charity for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 425,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach more than 1.1 million by 2056. Dementia Australia is the new voice of Alzheimer’s Australia. Dementia Australia’s services are supported by the Australian Government.


National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

Interpreter service available

(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)

Dementia is a National Health Priority Area


Media contacts: Sarah Price / Sarah.price@dementia.org.au / 0435 532 214 or Sifundo Kahonde / Sifundo.Kahonde@dementia.org.au / (02) 6278 8907

 When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia Language Guidelines.