Afternoon Reception for Alzheimer’s Australia (Queensland)
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Kaye and I are very pleased to welcome you here today to mark Dementia Awareness Month for Alzheimer’s Australia in Queensland. We are particularly delighted to have at Fernberg tonight our Queensland Chairman, Mr Bass, and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Walsh, alongside our Australian Chief Executive Officer, Ms McCabe.
It is significant that this is not just an awareness day or week, but a full month dedicated to increasing public understanding of the many forms of dementia that today afflict more than 413,000 Australians.
Dementia is now second only to coronary heart disease as a cause of death in this country. It affects almost three per cent of our population, yet far too few in the broader community understand this puzzling and frightening condition.
As a consequence, the word ‘Alzheimer’s’ is often used jokingly and inappropriately to dismiss any lapse of memory.
I don’t need to tell the people here today that living with dementia is a far more serious matter, and that Dementia Month and the work of Alzheimer’s Australia are critically important in spreading that message and helping to remove the stigma attached to the condition.
It is only through education and information that we can break down the barriers of ignorance and fear, encourage people to seek professional diagnosis and support, and ensure that those with dementia are respected, engaged in and embraced by their communities.
I am very aware that dementia has a major personal impact on the people closest to those living with these debilitating illnesses, and I take this opportunity to acknowledge their selfless dedication as well as the commitment of the many other volunteers and supporters who give their time to Alzheimer’s Australia.
As Patron of Alzheimer’s Australia in Queensland, I also recognise that research, diagnosis and appropriate support are all critical to success in the battle against dementia and I am very pleased that representatives of all three of those key forces could join us today.
The website address of Alzheimer’s Australia very clearly expresses the drive and focus of the organisation – ‘fightdementia.org.au’, and I wish you all well for this month and beyond as you continue the fight and spread the vital message that life does not stop with the diagnosis of dementia.