Our history

Our organisation was founded in 1983 by, and for, carers.

It was created in response to public concern about the lack of information, resources and appropriate residential care for people with dementia.

Today we are a large professional organisation. We have more than 90 staff and 100 volunteers servicing Victoria from our Melbourne offices and eight rural locations. 20 000 people each year now receive services from Dementia Australia Vic counsellors, resource workers and educators.

Growth of our services

Early initiatives included:  

  • A quarterly newsletter
  • Setup of Carer Support Groups which number more than 180 today
  • Telephone advice
  • A major capital fundraising appeal to purchase and establish a permanent resource centre for families and carers

1988 - The Minister of Health announced that the Government would provide funding for the Association to move into its next phase, and the first Executive Director was appointed with funding approved for three more positions.  

Within a short space of time:

  • The Telephone Advisory Service was established (now called the National Dementia Helpline)
  • A Community Education / Information Officer was appointed
  • The Family Resource Centre in Hawthorn was purchased assisted by a capital appeal
  • Support groups numbered 64

1990 - The Family Resource Centre in Hawthorn was officially opened and Home and Community Care (HACC) funding was received for the employment of trained and experienced counsellors.

1994 - The two buildings (houses) adjacent to the Family Resource Centre were purchased to accommodate the rapid expansion of staff and services and outposted counsellors were placed in some of the major rural cities.

1996 - The Association was now educating more than 6 000 people across the State each year and responding to more than 10 000 telephone calls and/or visits to Carer Support Services.

In the late 90's:

  • A full regionalisation program was established
  • The first Support Group for People with Early Stage Dementia was piloted
  • Education Services received more funding from the Office of Training and Further Education to run courses for carers and aged care workers
  • Additional funding was received to expand the library staffing
  • Our first website was established
  • Projects included developing and delivering training packages for carers, Carer Respite Centres' staff and Special Residential Services' staff 
  • New national Help Sheets were produced 
  • A series of "Thanks for the Memories" lunches were held to celebrate International Year of Older Persons in 1999

Early this decade:

  • Rural services expanded with staff based in Geelong, Warnambool, Ballarat, Horsham, Bendigo, Benalla and Moe.
  • The Hawthorn site was extensively renovated and expanded and officially re-opened by the then Victorian Minister for Health, The Hon John Thwaites MP on November 22, 2002.
  • By 2002 Living With Memory Loss Group programs were running throughout the State for people with early stage dementia, their family and carers.
  • A pilot social and educational program called Memory Lane Cafe was successfully run in eastern Melbourne for people who had attended Living With Memory Loss programs. Funds were received in 2003 to expand the Memory Lane Cafe's to other metropolitan and rural locations.

History of our name

1983 - in March the Victorian Alzheimer's Syndrome Association was formed, changing its name later in the year to Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Society of Victoria Inc. (ADARDS).

1994 -  members voted to change the name to Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association of Victoria Inc., to be known as Alzheimer's Association Victoria.

2002 - with the strengthening of the national organization and branding, we changed our operating name to Dementia Australia Vic, although our official registered name is still Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association of Victoria Inc.