Sue has learnt more about Dementia over the last 20 years than she ever thought she would want to know! Initially driven by her mother’s diagnosis and subsequent care and support for Hazel, Sue gradually grew into a role of advocacy, education and policy involvement.

Sue has been privileged to work with and learn from many people with dementia, their families and carers, researchers, academics, clinicians, providers, care workers and others across the Dementia and Aged sectors.

Sue was the inaugural co-chair of the (federal) Ministers’ Dementia Advisory Group (MDAG) from 2008, named Alzheimer’s Australia’s inaugural national ambassador in 2010 and enjoys her extensive work around Australia speaking and advising on dementia, aged care and healthy ageing. She is a regular feature at Australia’s key conferences in these and related fields.

“I have become convinced, on the basis of these years of diverse experience, that most of what we think we know about dementia is wrong; and that much of how we respond to people with dementia and organise care and support is sadly misguided. Without intending to harm, we in fact perpetuate stigma, cause sometimes awful distress and damage, and close down opportunities and life quality for people with dementia. This is not because we are ‘bad people’, but because our ‘knowledge’ is seriously outdated. We have a lot of catching up to do regarding information, evidence, best practice, attitudes and possibilities.

Working with others towards this is what I do.”

See ‘Consulting and Education‘ and Speaking pages to explore how you might benefit from or participate in this work.

Key Themes:

(any of this work and theme development on dementia or other topics can be incorporated into personalised speeches, education modules, etc.)

A New Understanding:

focuses on a conceptual and experiential understanding of the new approach emerging globally. Underlying much of the fear and stigma surrounding dementia is a plethora of inaccurate beliefs, outdated information, lack of education and downright prejudice! On this subject, Sue briefly dissects much of the baggage surrounding dementia, updates audiences on best-practice understanding of dementia and approaches to care and relationships with people with dementia. She leaves audiences with an experiential understanding of the fact that people with dementia still fully experience their own lives, and of ways we can support them in a manner based on respect, appreciation and Human Rights

Human Rights, Disability Rights + Dementia:

This approach emphasises the role Human Rights play in appreciating new approaches to dementia and people living with it. A brief history/ understanding of the implications and crucial importance we place on  Universal Rights and Disability Rights which underlie a new understanding, and some of the tools it gives us to adjust our attitudes, relationships and support.

Please note: Sue cannot reliably undertake to answer personal questions and inquiries about dementia, but strongly recommends that you contact Dementia Australia (see below) where you will find a wealth of information and support, or call the Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500. She strongly recommends that people with dementia especially contact Dementia Alliance International (see below), where they will find a wealth of info, perspectives, links and support from an empowering and diverse peer group.

We will  be publishing a more extended resources page (suggestions welcome!)

Dementia Australia

(formerly Alzheimer’s Australia) are the best ‘one-stop-shop’ regarding dementia. Information about multiple issues, research, support groups, activities, fundraising, dementia in the news, and more are linked on this national site. They are the peak Australian group covering representation, policy development, research, services and support. They aim high regarding consumer participation, so if you want to get involved…..

You can also call their National Helpline on 1800 100 500

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Dementia Alliance International

A wonderful resource of direct support for people with dementia founded and run by people with dementia. Great info and forums also for people without dementia who want to listen and learn and support.

” membership is exclusively for people with ..dementia from all around the world . We seek to represent, support, and educate others living with the disease, and the wider dementia community. We ..strive to provide a unified voice of strength, advocacy and support for our rights, individual autonomy and improved quality of life.”

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Hazel Hawke Fund

At Hazel’s request, Alzheimer’s Australia established the Hazel Hawke Alzheimer’s Research and Care Fund in 2003 to support dementia care research across Australia. With Hazel’s death in 2013, Australians have responded generously with donations to build a legacy in memory of Hazel and to fulfil her wishes for continued investment in research and care for dementia.

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Become a Dementia Friend

Check some basic info on dementia and equip yourself to support people. Only takes a few minutes, and “small acts can make a big difference. Help support people with dementia to remain included, accepted and connected with their community.”

An initiative of Dementia Australia.

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