Blog: The Brain Dialogues

2 Nov 2022

Ageing With Resilience

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au For the first time in three years, seniors from across Sydney were able to attend an in-house version of the Eastern Suburbs Older Persons’ Mental Health Service’s annual forum which seeks to encourage a paradigm shift in the approach to ageing. The official opening of the Secrets of Ageing with Resilience forum was made by Deputy Chair of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) Dr Debra Graves, who acknowledged the importance of the theme and its relationship to positive mental health promoting healthy communities. Professor Henry… Read More

The Reality of Dementia - A Daughter's Perspective, with Francesca Wood

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au After losing her Mum to dementia in May 2020, Francesca Wood has a vision for society to address dementia the way we approach cancer, and for people to take their brain health as seriously as their physical health.  Following the first signs, it took nearly five years for Mrs Helen Reading to be diagnosed with vascular dementia.   According to Francesca, there was initially a lot of denial that anything was wrong, despite all signs pointing towards dementia.  “Watching the essence of Mum slowly disappear and not recognising me or my two daughters… Read More

The Reality of Dementia - A Grandson's Perspective

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au Jackson Skirka, adoring Grandson of 75-year-old Marlene and lawyer with Henry William Lawyers in Sydney, wants his Nan to know that he’ll always be there to support her through her Alzheimer’s journey, and do everything in his capacity to ensure she feels happy, safe and loved.  Jackson, who visits his Nan in the dementia ward of Belrose Nursing Home every few weeks, acknowledges how challenging the dementia journey is – for the individual, for carers and family members.  “My beautiful Nan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease about 3 years ago.  “… Read More

The Reality of Dementia - A Daughter's Perspective, with Eileen Hoggett

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au KPMG’s National Managing Partner of Audit, Assurance and Risk Consulting, Eileen Hoggett, lost her beloved Mum, Christine Moloney, to younger onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2013.   Looking back, Eileen says it is hard to pinpoint the first moment she realised something was different but does recall that in the lead up to her diagnosis, her Mum stopped calling regularly and avoided long conversations.  “In hindsight, I think Mum had started finding it difficult to answer questions about what she had been up to and what her plans were for the week,” says… Read More

The Reality of Dementia - A Son's Perspective

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au & HELENA HUDSON | h.hudson@unsw.edu.au Head of Middle Markets Distribution and Sales at iPartners, Vito Abbonizio supports CHeBA’s call for dementia care to be seen as a human right, and for improved reform across government and aged care policy.  Italian born Raffaele Abbonizio is 87 years of age and effectively bed bound, a disheartening picture for Vito who describes his Dad as a personable, talkative tradesman.  Over the course of a year, his cognition declined so rapidly that he lost the ability to speak, walk, feed and take care of himself… Read More

The Reality of Dementia - A Husband's Perspective

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au For Michael du Chateau, dementia is a thief. A cruel and brutal thief that is stealing the life of his much-loved wife, Jilly. Jill was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s disease when she was in her late 50’s. According to Michael, she began having reactions to situations that were outside of her usual behaviour.  “From that point, I had to bite the bullet and organise tests, coordinate a brain scan, talk to a neurologist, and speak with a dementia specialist." “I had to start down that brutal road.” Together, they share three sons and a… Read More
11 Oct 2022

The Secrets of Ageing With Resilience

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au The last three years of a global pandemic have intensified health impacts on the lives of older Australians in many ways, challenging their coping mechanisms and consequently their levels of resilience.  The Eastern Suburbs Older Persons’ Mental Health Service (OPMHS) - in partnership with UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) - is giving attention to the topic of resilience at their free annual forum for seniors, to be held from 10am to 1pm on Wednesday, 26 October 2022 at The Juniors, Kingsford.  The event will be chaired by… Read More
12 Sep 2022

Ed Caser | Meet Our Fundraiser Series

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au When Ed Caser read about The Dementia Momentum initiative led by CHeBA in the AFR 6 years ago, the timing was profound. It was during a month that he was attempting to care for his Mum in country Victoria while remotely running 20 staff in an investments business in Sydney – a combination that tested him to his limits.  Ed Caser with mother Mary CaserEd’s Mum, Mary Caser, has Alzheimer’s disease.  Ed has cared for his Mum beyond what most people can even comprehend. He has got her out of bed, bathed her, dressed her and fed her.  All while managing a… Read More
8 Sep 2022

PJ Lane | Meet Our Fundraiser Series

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au When PJ Lane was given the opportunity to represent a dementia research Centre 10 years ago, the timing couldn’t have been more coincidental. The date he was being asked to stand on the podium at the launch of UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) was the exact same date that his TV legend father, Don Lane, had passed away just three years earlier from Alzheimer’s disease. For the last decade PJ’s dedication to his Ambassador role for medial research has been unwavering. “There has been no hesitation to stay committed,” says Lane.… Read More
8 Sep 2022

Darryl Johnson | Meet Our Fundraiser Series

HEIDI DOUGLASS | h.douglass@unsw.edu.au Specialist investment portfolio administrator – Integrated Portfolio Solutions – is embracing corporate social responsibility this World Alzheimer’s Day in support of The Dementia Momentum initiative led by UNSW’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), with Managing Director Darryl Johnson running both the half marathon and 10km Bridge Run in the Sydney Running Festival. Managing Director Darryl Johnson says the approach to run on behalf of CHeBA was timely, as he is now witnessing the devastating impact that Alzheimer’s disease has on his family… Read More