The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, has been honoured with the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) Award for his ongoing commitment to improving the lives of people living with dementia and their carers.
Ita Buttrose, the National President of Alzheimer’s Australia and 2013 Australian of the Year, presented the award to Mark Butler in Sydney today.
“Alzheimer’s Australia is delighted that Minister Butler has received the prestigious award,” Ms Buttrose said.
“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.
“Bipartisan support has provided landmark improvements in policy and program development for Australians living with dementia.”
In the past two years, Minister Butler has spoken out publicly in support of Alzheimer’s Australia’s Fight Dementia Campaign and the need for dementia to be a key focus in aged care reform. Last year, he added weight to these claims by announcing the Living Longer. Living Better. Aged Care Reform package which commits $268.4 million over five years to better support people with dementia.
“This funding enables many of the Fight Dementia Campaign’s key priority areas to be addressed, including timely diagnosis, improved primary care, safer hospitals for people with dementia and support for people with younger onset dementia,” Ms Buttrose said.
With Minister Butler’s support, dementia was also recognised as a National Health Priority Area, alongside other chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease.
“Australia 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 and residential care services,” Ms Buttrose said.
“Family carers frequently tell me about their disturbing experiences and the lack of respect shown for the human rights of people with dementia.
“We have a mountain to climb before we can be re-assured that people with dementia and their family carers have access to the care and support they need.”
ADI is the international federation of 78 Alzheimer’s associations around the world. It empowers them to promote and offer care and support for people with dementia and their carers, while working globally to focus attention on dementia.