…you say goodbye twice.

It was a heart breaking day for Margie Burling when she realised she would say goodbye to her mum twice.

‘I saw the confusion, anger and frustration as she struggled to understand what was happening to her, until she finally succumbed to this insidious disease. Devoid of memories. Here physically, but dead inside.’

The Burling family’s dementia story is far too familiar to thousands of Australian families, which leads me to say we should not accept that dementia is an inevitable part of ageing.

Professor Kaarin Anstey of NeuRA shows us we can make choices that reduce our risk of dementia, by targeting our modifiable risk factors. NeuRA’s vision is to build an online tool designed for the community that will assess your dementia risk using the best evidence available and tailored to your age-group and gender. More than just assess, it will create an action plan, tailored to your individual situation, based upon your answers.

Will you help NeuRA build this incredible tool, with a gift today?

‘I saw the initial confusion, anger and frustration as she struggled to understand what was happening to her, until she finally succumbed to this insidious disease. Devoid of memories. Here physically, but dead inside.’

Dead inside

‘We’d have calls from neighbours saying they found mum wandering down the street. We would have the same conversations time and time again. I’d find the stove left on for hours. This is dementia.’

It was a heart breaking, gut-wrenching day for Margie and her family when they realised they will say goodbye – in effect losing her – twice.

Tragically, the Burling family’s dementia story is far too familiar to thousands of Australian families. The fact that it may be familiar leads me to say this: we should not accept that dementia is an inevitable part of ageing, or that someone
‘had a good run until dementia struck.’

‘It is an absolute tragedy that dementia stole mums lifetime of memories and joys. Losing one’s mind is an undignified and cruel way to die, and I hate that when I think of mum,  I think of dementia.’

Dementia is a tsunami we are in no way ready for. It is our national health crisis.

  • In the coming years it will become the nation’s leading cause of death
  • One in two individuals in aged care has dementia
  • By 2056, more than 650 per day will receive a diagnosis of dementia (with young onset dramatically on the rise)

More and more people in their middle age – young fathers and mothers – are worried about their parents. They are ‘the sandwich generation’… meaning they are raising young children, at the same time they are caring for a parent with dementia.

Hope for a brighter tomorrow… starting TODAY

Whether it is retirement, an upcoming trip or moving house, we are constantly planning for tomorrow.

My guess though is that very few of us plan to reduce our risk of dementia.

Incredible research, led by NeuRA’s Professor Kaarin Anstey has clearly shown that it is the everyday decisions that have a dramatic effect on our dementia risk.

For example, did you know that a diet including fish two or more times a week has been linked to reduced risk of dementia? Did you know that four or more social engagements a week has been shown to reduce your risk?

Did you know that depression*, diabetes and obesity in middle age increase your risk?

From your GP’s or the comfort of your lounge room

Whatever age you are, Prof Anstey’s work shows us we can make choices that reduce our risk of dementia.

NeuRA’s vision is to build an online tool designed for the community that will assess your dementia risk using the best evidence available and tailored to your age-group and gender. More than just assess, it will create an action plan, tailored to your individual situation, based upon your answers.

Let me be very clear – correctly used and followed, this will reduce your risk of dementia by targeting your ‘modifiable’ risk factors. There are some non-modifable risk factors – your age, gender and genetic make-up.

The initial creation of this tool – which we hope to make available to every home and GP across the country – is expensive. That is why we need your help. To begin this project, we want to raise $250,000 by the end of this financial year and if everyone receiving this letter gave what they could afford, we could start building this resource on 1 July.

Will you help with a gift that will help reduce your risk of dementia? Perhaps you’d consider becoming a Discovery Partner, by committing to a small monthly donation.

With the end of the financial year shortly upon us, I know you’ll be inundated with requests. What I ask is that you stop and think about the health crisis that dementia is, and back NeuRA to do something about it.

‘She was not only my mother, but my best friend and confidante. It was the long goodbye.’

The Burling family story isn’t unique… it is far too familiar to us all.

This is precisely the reason we must act now.

Will you join me in our quest to put an end to dementia?

Kind Regards,

Professor Peter R Schofield FAHMS PhD DSc
Executive Director and CEO

P.P.S. You are invited to read a journal extract of Lisa, as she watched her dear Nanna slowly deteriorate. Click here to read it.

* For support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14

All gifts over $2 are tax deductible.