Posted: 19th September 2019
Today we acknowledge Dementia Action Week and World Alzheimer's Day by reposting an article that first appeared in our 2018-19 Annual Report.
Phil Hazell is an advocate for people with dementia; having been diagnosed with Alzheimer's at 55, he is keen to ensure people gain a better understanding of what it's like to live with dementia.
The theme for this year's Dementia Action Week is "Demential doesn't discriminate. Do you?" We think Phil helps others to look at people with dementia as individuals. Here's his story:
“My dad had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when he was 88, and he’s 92 now.
We thought it was unreal that I got it early and he got it late in life. I wasn’t surprised when I was diagnosed, because I’d started having symptoms the year before. If I was with the boys in the bar, there was no way I could remember them. I was forgetting things around the house and couldn’t cook.
In my experience, doctors don’t have a clear understanding of what it means to live well with dementia. I take every single opportunity to keep myself independent. I take day flights to Adelaide with my assistance dog Sara to visit Mum and Dad. I get confused sometimes, but I still go. So many people are affected by dementia.
If we all donated towards medical research, it could make a huge difference.”
Professor Michael Parker leads our Structural Biology Unit, which seeks to better understand Alzheimer's disease in the hopes that we can find ways to prevent it or treat it. Recently, his group identified a potential new drug target. While still in its early stages, initial results are promising. You can read more here.