Dementia Awareness Month 2018

I rise this evening to speak about Dementia Awareness Month 2018, which runs for the month of September and aims to raise awareness of the leading cause of death amongst Australian women and the second leading cause of all deaths in Australia.

The theme for this year is ‘Small actions. Big difference’ – which aims to highlight the small actions we can all take to make a big difference for those living with dementia, their families and carers.

Firstly, I’d like to commend Dementia Australia on its strong and unrelenting efforts. Thank you for the invaluable work you do in making sure people living with dementia are able to live with dignity, support and security.

I’d like to acknowledge the thousands of Australians including Dementia Ambassadors, politicians, businesses, communities and individuals who have already signed up to be a Dementia Friend.

The Government’s investment in research in this area is absolutely essential.

This year’s Budget allocated $5.3 million over four years for the development of technological solutions to support people living with dementia.

This is welcomed given there was NO new investment in Dementia in last year’s Budget.

But frankly - $5.3 million over 4 years is inadequate.

The Government’s investment in research in this area is absolutely essential.

 

This year’s Budget allocated $5.3 million over four years for the development of technological solutions to support people living with dementia.


This is welcomed given there was NO new investment in Dementia in last year’s Budget.

But frankly - $5.3 million over 4 years is inadequate.

Dementia is everyone’s issue. We cannot ignore it or walk past it.

If the Turnbull Government was truly serious about dementia they would:

  • Make dementia a national priority.

 

  • And they would address the home care package waitlist crisis which now has more than 108,000 older Australians waiting for home care - including around 88,000 older Australians with high level needs, many of who have dementia.

In contrast - I’m extremely proud to be part of Bill Shorten’s team that has outlined its intention to make Australia a world leader in the way we care for people living with dementia, and the people who love them.

Today I moved a motion for Dementia Awareness Month 2018:

The motion urges all levels of Government to:

  • Take action to raise awareness of dementia so that people living with dementia remain included, accepted and connected within their own community.

As the Shadow Assistant Minister for Ageing I have spent the last 5 years working and campaigning to make Australia a better place to live with dementia.

I’ve met some truly inspiring and courageous people and have been honoured to sit with them and hear their stories.

I have also witnessed negative attitudes towards people living with dementia.

Awareness and attitudes are improving, but sadly the diagnosis of dementia still goes hand-in-hand with stigmas, social isolation and exclusion – this has got to change.

We are all affected by dementia, whether it be a loved one, a friend or neighbour and we must do more to encourage the community to better understand dementia so people living with dementia feel less isolated and alone.

The Motion I moved today also encourages those in their communities to join me and pledge their support by becoming a Dementia Friend.

 

It’s free and it only takes about 10 minutes.

 

It’s about more than wearing a badge, it’s about turning awareness into action.

It can be as simple as sharing knowledge amongst your networks, having conversations with family and friends, making your workplace or local sports club more dementia-friendly, or checking in on a neighbour who might have become a bit withdrawn.

It all boils down to changing the way people think, act and talk about dementia.


I commend my many Labor colleagues who have already signed up to become Dementia Friends.

To become a Dementia Friend visit: www.dementiafriendly.org.au