Minister Mark Butler wins global award for work on tackling dementia

Thanks to this article, I have an easy blog today as we arrived home at 7am, and there is not much left in the think tank! We learnt of this award at the ADI conference in Taipei, and it is in many ways mostly thanks to Glenn Rees, the CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia, Ita Buttrose, the President, and their team (consumer’s included) that Mr Butler has listened to the fight dementia campaign to improve the lives of people with dementia.

Minister Mark Butler wins global award for work on tackling dementia

By Philip Hudson, adelaidenow, April 21, 2013 11:30PM

MENTAL Health Minister Mark Butler’s outspoken support for campaigns to fight dementia has landed him an international award.

Mr Butler, the federal member for Port Adelaide, will today be presented with the Alzheimer’s Disease International Award, chosen by 78 Alzheimer’s associations from around the world. Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was 2012’s winner.

Ita Buttrose, the Australian of the Year and national president of Alzheimer’s Australia, will present Mr Butler with the award.

She said it was a prestigious award that recognised Mr Butler’s efforts to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their carers by making it a key focus of aged-care reform.

Last year’s $3.7 billion aged-care overhaul included $268 million to better support people with dementia by improving hospital and community care services, reducing time between symptoms and diagnosis and more support for younger onset dementia.

More than 321,000 Australians live with dementia and it is the third leading cause of death but has no cure.

About one person every six minutes is diagnosed with dementia and, without a medical breakthrough, the number of sufferers is expected to reach 900,000 by 2050.

“Australia has enjoyed a worldwide reputation for creating and implementing dementia policy since 2005 and Mark Butler has played an important role in what we have achieved,” Ms Buttrose said.

“Australians can rightly be proud that we have led the world in recognising the need to tackle dementia but we too have a long way to go in improving the quality of dementia care, particularly respite care … ”

Mr Butler said the award recognised Australia was leading the world and it was thanks to community efforts, which drew attention to the issue and demanded better resources and support.

He praised Ms Buttrose for her personal commitment to the issue and said the Government had made dementia a priority area “to bring dementia out of the shadows”.

“Ultimately what we really want is a medical breakthrough but we need to recognise the issue now and support people who are living with dementia – young and old,” he said.

4 thoughts on “Minister Mark Butler wins global award for work on tackling dementia

  1. Young and old – and people living alone with demenia! I have been avocating over the past year on behalf of this very neglected group of people – since US Alzheimer’s published their substantive “Special Report: People Living Alone with Dementia” a year ago as the major thrust of their Budget Submission. Alzheimer’s Australia is currently preparing a Discussion Paper due for publication June 19. Although I have received strong support from service providers, the Minister, to date, has responded merely in “political speak” language. He seems to have assumed that his job is done. Meanwhile, after 8 years, I continue to find single people absent from support services that I have been attending in singular isolation..

    • Judy, thank you for joining the conversation. I too feel somewhat disillusioned as there is more political speak and will power than action, but to date Alzheimer’s Australia have achieved much more than expected in their campaign. As the current government has put Australia into severe debt, it will also be difficult for them to walk their talk! And an election looming means more speak, less of anything on the ground for people like you are trying desperately to provide services to a very marginalised and maligned grpoup of people. Keep up your passion and your great work.

The only thing missing in this global conversation is YOUR voice... Thank you.

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