Dementia, VE rally and Alzheimer’s Australia election updates

I am re-publishing below the Election Roundup by the CEO Mr Glenn Rees, AM, published by Alzheimer’s Australia yesterday. It is one day now until the election of a new Prime Minister in Australia. Dementia funding is a key element for me of course, and with the epidemic on its way – it is predicted there will be 900,000 people with dementia in Australia by 2050 – it has to be. But there is so much more, and although I don’t usually discuss politics here, I am voting for the Coalition as the last 6-7 years have done nothing but destroy this country (IMO). It will be a very long and difficult climb back to money in the proverbial bank for any party now, although I do clearly recall Australia had plenty prior to Labour running the country, whereas now, we are so far into debt, I wonder how we’ll get back into surplus in my lifetime!!

Anyway, I will probably pay the price for showing my political colours here, but hey, that’s nothing new. I’ve done it before on other topics, felt or heard the stabbing in the back, and lived to tell the tale, and I’m still game to do it again. Of course there is one topic neither major political party seem too keen to engage in, which is Voluntary Euthanasia. If they held a referendum on this topic, I feel reasonably sure Australians would vote for it, but my cynicism says the Christian groups deposit too much funding into the major political parties, and therefore the topic never gets a proper hearing. There is a rally next week in South Australia, and polls here say that 82% of South Australians want it. At the last rally, very few people turned up, so I’m guessing it is another topic too hard for people to own up to their opinions on???

I might ave strong opinions on some topics, and you may or may not agree with me. That’s ok, you don’t have to, but I still believe I’m a nice person, my lifelong goal and the one thing I really want to be remembered for!!

 

RALLY TO LEGALISE VOLUNTARY EUTHANASIA

Wednesday 11th September, 1.00 – 2pm, Parliament House steps,  North Tce, Adelaide. Come along, bring a friend, to support the Ending Life with Dignity Bill 2013.

82% of South Australians want voluntary euthanasia legalised.  I am one of the them.

Speakers to include: Hon Dr Bob Such MP, Emeritus Professor John Willoughby, convenor drs4vechoice.org, Stephen Kenny, spokesperson Lawyers for Death with Dignity, Rev Dr Craig de Vos, spokesperson Christians Supporting Choice for VE. South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society, www.saves.asn.au

ALZHEIMER’S AUSTRALIA ELECTION ROUNDUP

By Glenn Rees, AM CEO Alzheimer’s Australia

It has been hard work trying to get dementia and aged care on the political agenda in this election but we have made some progress as September 7 draws closer.

Both the major parties and the Greens have supported the policy framework of the Living Longer. Living Better. aged care reforms although with varying degrees of emphasis. This is a first and important step towards improving and building on the reforms to respond to the needs of the more than 320,000 Australians with dementia today and the projected number of 900,000 by 2050.

The Coalition made an election commitment to provide an additional $200 million over five years for dementia research. If elected, the Coalition indicated that the funding would be used to build dementia research capacity by:

  • supporting the best and brightest new researchers
  • supporting high priority dementia research projects
  • translating existing research into better dementia care
  • investing in vital dementia research infrastructure.

The Coalition also committed $9 million of this funding to the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the University of Queensland. As most readers will know, additional funding for dementia research has been a central part of the Fight Dementia Campaign since it was launched in 2011.

The Greens announced a plan to improve dementia care and invest $120 million over three years in dementia research. The Greens’ plan reflected some of the priorities in Alzheimer’s Australia’s Fight Dementia Campaign Election document including:

  • additional community care packages
  • respite care for people with dementia
  • improving the quality of residential care
  • providing appropriate care for younger people with dementia.

The plan also supported the development of a National Dementia Action Framework to build on the announcement of dementia as a ninth National Health Priority Area and ensure progress towards timely diagnosis of dementia and hospital staff’s ability to recognise and respond to the needs of patients with dementia. The Greens’ plan acknowledged the need to tackle dementia comprehensively if we are to be prepared for the increase in dementia cases in coming years.

Labor made a commitment to provide $20 million to support Active Ageing community projects around the country. Labor also announced that, if re-elected, it would introduce a $10 million package of dementia research initiatives to pay tribute to the legacy of the late Hazel Hawke including research grants, a new Hazel Hawke Chair in translational dementia research and funding for a new Alzheimer’s Australia Learning centre.

Dementia and aged care issues were given a platform at the Aged Care Forum held at the National Press Club on 13 August. The presentation I gave is at this link or you can watch the video of the forum here.

Finally, I would like to thank our Dementia Champions and consumers who have supported our campaign—your support is critical to achieving the changes in our health and aged care system that will improve quality of life for people with dementia. I will report any further policy announcements as the Federal Election campaigns draw to a close.

Glenn Rees, AM
CEO Alzheimer’s Australia

6 thoughts on “Dementia, VE rally and Alzheimer’s Australia election updates

  1. Jeff – as a person with dementia (me) I am passionate about the legalisation of VE and if it wasn’t available for me when I wanted it I would just take matters into my own hands. And a LOT of elderly Australians are doing this. But if it was legalised, and I had an advanced care directive, then I might just be able to access it.

    Kate – you said that you believe that you’re a nice person. I only know you “online” but from what I’ve seen I’d say that you’re MORE than just a nice person. And for all these remarkable qualities you will be remembered, fear not.

    • That is such a pertinent point Alison, thanks for adding it. It is very relevant at the moment as our cat is diagnosed with cancer, and we are allowed and encouraged to ensure she does not suffer… X

  2. Sorry Kate, I have problems with VE for PWD, however I do not have problems with VE as a way of dealing with a painfully debillitating untreatable prognosis. I think I have expressed my reasons to you some time ago. I cannot accept that someone else has to make the rational decision.

    • Hello Jeff, I’m always happy to hear from you, and fully accept our differences. For me, it would simply mean someone following my rational decision. When nursing and in more recent times, I have seen euthenasia in action, but with NO controls in place, and often the families not being aware of what the morphine has been prescribed for… Some other with dementia also speak against VE, based on the possibility they may change their mind, but not be able to communicate that change. It is a very tricky and personal topic.

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