Alzheimer’s Disease has reached epidemic proportions in Australia.

More than a quarter of a million Australians now suffer from the disease and experts are calling on a change in approach to services and attitudes.

Ellen-Maree Elliot reports.


Last week’s federal budget didn’t include any additional funding for dementia care and that didn’t go unnoticed amongst those fighting for more funding and better understanding of the debilitating disease.

Alzheimer’s Australia President and well known media personality Ita Buttrose opened the 14th Alzheimer’s conference in Brisbane today.

Ita Buttrose, President of Alzheimer’s Australia: “Better quality dementia care is essential if Australia is serious about successfully tackling dementia.”

Experts say this better quality care needs to start with our perception of dementia.

Dr Graham Stokes, UK Bupa Dementia Services: “We don’t care for dementia, we don’t work with dementia. We care for people who are living with dementia.”

And that’s the message of this conference. Taking a different view, where experts are urging governments to approach this debilitating disease differently.

The Minister assured the conference he was listening.

Mark Butler, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing: “We need to find a much more positive frame about ageing. We need to find a much more positive frame.”

But it’s never easy for loved ones who have a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Barb Huddy found out late last year her husband Greg had dementia.

Barb Huddy, Carer: “I’m not scared, but I am apprehensive and it’d be lovely to be able to turn back the clock and make him better again, I guess we just take every day as it comes.”

She says the support of Alzheimer’s Australia has been invaluable to her and her family.

Ellen-Maree Elliot, QUT News.