Thursday, April 25, 2024

Celebrities give voice to Dementia Guide audiobook 

Australian celebrities including Ita Buttrose, Rhonda Burchmore, Mark Seymour and Denis Walter have combined forces to record an audiobook version of Dementia Australia’s Dementia Guide. 

The Dementia Guide is an online resource for any person impacted by any form of dementia, of any age, in any location across Australia. 

Ms Buttrose said the celebrities and ambassadors were thrilled to improve accessibility to dementia-related information by contributing to the audiobook. 

“Each person who has shared their voice has had an experience of dementia in their family and we have done this to raise awareness and help others to know they are not alone and that there is support available,” she said. 

The Dementia Guide provides information to sufferers, carers and families about the impacts of dementia, the treatments and services available, and support that loved ones can provide.  

Rhonda Burchmore perfoms on stage in 2009.

Television presenter and Dementia Australia ambassador, Stephanie Bendixsen has a very personal connection with dementia. 

“My mother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2018, and we really knew so little about dementia when she was diagnosed,” Ms Bendixsen said.  

“This made it difficult to understand why certain things were happening with her behaviourally, and we struggled to understand what was truly going on inside her brain, how her physicality was affected and how best we could support her and my Dad, her main carer, as a family. 

“Resources like this are so very valuable, and their accessibility even more so. Even though I consider myself a big reader – finding the time to sit down and read a book can be tricky when you have a busy lifestyle.  

“I switched to audiobooks years ago so that I can absorb books while I’m driving, walking the dog, doing chores – it’s been life-changing. An easily accessible resource like this would have made a wonderful difference to me and my family when we were coming to terms with how Mum’s – and our lives – would change.”   

Also contributing to the audiobook is dementia advocate is Anne Pietsch who lives with dementia and appreciated the value of The Dementia Guide when dealing with her diagnosis. 

“I would have been able to effortlessly pass on the details of the audiobook to my children and family and friends, so they could learn about dementia and my specific dementia, and the issues I might face whilst living with dementia,” Mrs Pietsch said.  

“Then in their own time they could have chosen to listen to reliable dementia information and used any of the resources.” 

The audiobook includes a welcome provided by Dementia Australia CEO, Maree McCabe, who said the guide was an important addition to Dementia Australia’s suite of support services and resources. 

“Dementia Australia exists to empower people living with dementia, their families and carers to understand dementia and to manage their diagnosis on their terms,” Ms McCabe said. 

“We are committed to increasing accessibility to our services and the National Dementia Helpline, 1800 100 500, operated by Dementia Australia, is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If someone has a diagnosis of dementia, or mild cognitive impairment, or is concerned about changes to their or a loved one’s cognition, Dementia Australia is here for them.  

“There is no reason too small, no issue too big and no time too late. This is a game changer because no one should have to face dementia alone at any time of day or night,” she said.

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