Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Dementia, Grant McBride Memory Walk
Dementia is the second-leading cause of the death of Australians, contributing to one in 20 deaths in men and one in 10 deaths in women. In 2016, dementia became the leading cause of death among Australian women, surpassing heart disease, which had been the leading cause of death for men and women since the early 20th century. Women now account for two out of three dementia related deaths in Australia. It is estimated that there are 425,000 Australians living with dementia. Every day another 250 people are diagnosed with dementia and 36 people die from dementia. These figures from Dementia Australia demonstrate the impact of dementia in our community and the important need for urgent action. Researchers are working to find a cure, with more than $60 million a year being spent on dementia research in Australia. The Dementia Australia Research Foundation, supported by donations from the public, plays a major role in this effort and funds a number of researchers through scholarships and grants.
I'm passionate about raising funds for Dementia Australia, and for this reason I'm holding the Grant McBride Memory Walk in Long Jetty on Saturday, 8 September. It is in memory of my late father, who passed away this year at 68 after living with younger onset dementia for more than five years. It is for the 6,000 people currently living with dementia on the coast and their thousands of carers. It's about the care providers and the volunteers who provide support services, and it's about our community, a community that recognises the importance of creating a dementia-friendly community, one that welcomes people with dementia, supports their carers and allows them to live well and enjoy their life.
I have spoken before about the impact of dementia on my own father and on our family as his carers, and I want to again share my mother's words:
For people with dementia, you learn that they are more than their memories.
They have an emotional memory and an emotional relationship.
Grant can experience joy and happiness as well as frustration and disappointment.
He is participating in life.
I am so proud to be patron of the newly formed Central Coast Dementia Alliance, which is working to create a more dementia-friendly community on the coast. The alliance is mapping services so people living with dementia and their carers know the support services that are there and how they can contact them. The alliance is holding workshops for individuals, community groups and businesses to help them increase their awareness of what it's like to live with dementia and how to create more dementia-friendly communities.
I would now like to turn to a few of the walkers who are joining us on the weekend and why they are doing it. Among the walkers are mother and daughter Diane and Carol. Carol wrote:
My mum is doing the walk as well. It is for a great cause. My dad sadly passed away from dementia in June this year.
Another walker, Felicity wrote:
Looking forward to the event. I lost my dad 9 weeks ago to this horrible disease so I'll be running for him.
And from Lisa:
It's an honour and with great excitement that I will be participating in the Memory Walk & Jog. Sadly, I also know far too well the life-changing impact of younger onset dementia.
I urge all my colleagues to support the walk and all those on the coast to sign up to support people living with dementia and their carers.