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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 September 2017) . . Page.. 3917 ..

Through the change around us, we are committed to keeping the Canberra we love and to making it better. The enduring community of Ainslie School is a perfect example of how a city has grown and changed for the better, while remaining uniquely Canberran. I look forward to seeing as much as I can of what the next 90 years will bring for Ainslie School and how it will continue to foster its students and families into the next generations of Canberrans.

Alzheimer’s ACT memory walk

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (4.15): The theme was “You are not alone”, and that was certainly the case on Sunday morning. Anyone who was near Lennox Gardens would have seen a sea of yellow shirts as hundreds of Canberrans walked, jogged and ran to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s ACT on their fifth annual memory walk and jog.

Over 413,000 people live with dementia in Australia, and it is estimated that over 5,000 people live with dementia in the ACT. There is a misconception that dementia only affects the elderly, and whilst it is true that it is more common amongst our older Australians, younger onset dementia is a condition that is not talked about much.

We have already seen great examples of the community coming together to raise awareness about and to support Canberrans living with dementia. I commend the Majura men’s shed in partnering with Alzheimer’s ACT to give older men living with dementia the support and resources to be able to engage with other men, to talk shoulder to shoulder, to create trinkets for their grandchildren and to have a chance to get back to the basics of using their hands to create something special.

With national statistics showing an alarming upwards trend in the diagnosis of dementia, it is clear that, moving forward, dementia will impact every Australian family in some way. Yet a recent survey conducted by Alzheimer’s Australia, Dementia and the Impact of Social Stigma, reports that over 70 per cent of Australians admit they know very little about dementia, and almost half of the population do not realise that dementia is fatal or understand how to assist someone with dementia. The survey also found that people living with dementia and their carers overwhelmingly report feeling socially isolated and lonely.

It is for this reason that initiatives such as the memory walk and jog are so important. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves and our community as to the realities of dementia and how we can best support those affected. It is a way that we can show these Canberrans that, indeed, you are not alone.

Last week Minister Fitzharris, Minister Rattenbury and I joined Al the elephant, the memory walk and jog mascot, to drum up some excitement and support for the memory walk and jog. I acknowledge the enormous efforts of Rebecca Vassarotti, interim CEO, and Celia Vuckovic, events and fundraising officer, in pulling off a successful event.

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