Ita Buttrose, Sue Pieters-Hawke and Professor Brodaty address ALP National Conference
05 December, 2011
Delegates to the Australian Labor Party’s 46th National Conference had the opportunity to learn about dementia at a lunch with Alzheimer’s Australia’s National President, Ita Buttrose, National Ambassador, Sue Pieters-Hawke and Medical Advisor, Professor Henry Brodaty.
Alzheimer’s Australia took part in the Fringe Program for the conference to create a better understanding of what the social and economic impact will be of the dementia epidemic will bring over the next 40 years.
Ita Buttrose spoke about the harsh realties of an ageing nation that currently has no dementia plan in place and the urgent need for Alzheimer’s Australia’s Fight Dementia Action Plan to be made a priority in the 2012/13 Federal Budget if we are to combat the dementia epidemic.
“Dementia is the major chronic disease of this century. There are more than a quarter of a million people living with dementia today and by 2050 there will be nearly one million.”
“Government funding for a national strategy that targets dementia awareness, diagnosis, care, dementia risk reduction and research will give Australia a chance of beating dementia before it beats us.”
Sue Pieters-Hawke who has cared for her mother, former first lady Hazel Hawke, said a "revolution" was needed to fight the lack of resources, stigma and neglect.
"We need a revolution in the quality of residential care so when we reach the soul-destroying point of saying, 'I really can't do it any more' - that there are choices open to us so our loved one can live in a place that respects and nurtures them," she said.
"I grew up with the Labor Party and I know in my bones it's core values are ones that should impel us to stand up and say no more, enough is enough, we won't tolerate the continued neglect."
Mental Health Minister Mark Butler told the function dementia was an emerging epidemic.
He said the federal government's upcoming age care reform would be ineffective without putting dementia front and centre.
Professor Henry Brodaty presented on the differences between Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia; how it develops; and diagnosis.
You can download a copy of Ita Buttrose’s speech here and see Professor Brodaty's presentation here.