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Friday, December 8, 2023

Victorian Senior of the Year a well-deserved honour for long-time dementia advocate, Anne Tudor

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Dementia Australia has congratulated Anne Tudor on receiving the Premier’s Award for Victorian Senior of the Year for an outstanding contribution by an individual to their local community and Victoria.

Tudor has been recognised for her commitment to raising awareness about dementia and advocating for people impacted by dementia nationally, internationally and locally in Ballarat.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe acknowledged Tudor for the prestigious honour on behalf of all people impacted by dementia.

“I am absolutely delighted Anne has been recognised for this well-deserved honour,” McCabe said.

When Tudor’s wife Edie Mayhew was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 59, the pair, pictured above, committed to doing whatever they could to increase awareness and understanding about younger onset dementia – when a person is diagnosed under the aged of 65.

Sadly, Mayhew died in 2020, aged 69, from dementia-related complications. Tudor has continued with their advocacy as the driving force behind projects she started with her beloved partner.

Anne is to be commended for her conviction, passion, compassion, empathy and vision, and this award is a wonderful acknowledgment of a contribution that will resonate and influence positive change for generations to come

Dementia Australia CEO, Maree McCabe

Their advocacy contribution has included sharing their experiences of dementia by speaking at major events and conferences including the Alzheimer’s Australia National Younger Onset Dementia and National Consumer Summits in Melbourne and Canberra, Alzheimer’s Australia National Conferences in Hobart, Perth and Melbourne, and international conferences in Budapest and Wellington.

Together they contributed to policy papers, reports and multiple government submissions by Dementia Australia, and as members of advisory panels that have influenced decision-making federally and in Victorian governments.

Tudor and Mayhew participated in numerous research projects, most notably for them, the Younger Onset Dementia Assistance Dogs project which brought the much-loved Labrador, Melvin into their lives.

In 2016 they established the Bigger Hearts, Dementia-Friendly Ballarat campaign aiming to make Ballarat a dementia-friendly community.

To this day the project remains strong and active.

Since its inception, it has created films, hosted events, directly supported people impacted by dementia and inspired others impacted by dementia and inspired key business and community leaders to get involved.

The Bigger Hearts Alliance is now a flagship of Dementia Australia’s federally funded Dementia-Friendly Communities program.

In the same year Tudor and Mayhew received the Outstanding Achievement by a Volunteer: Supporting Diversity Award at the Victorian Minister for Health Volunteer Awards, as well as Honorary Membership of the then Alzheimer’s Australia Vic.

In 2017 Tudor supported Mayhew to speak in the Victorian Parliament at a Parliamentary Friends of Dementia event, poignantly and bravely sharing to a room full of MPs why ‘a good death was her right’ during the voluntary assisted dying debate.

Tudor and Mayhew’s story has been shared in the media including Ballarat’s The Courier, The Age, The Guardian, SBS, ABC 7:30 and many more news outlets spreading much-needed awareness to thousands of people over the years.

In recent years Tudor and Mayhew were consultants to Parks Victoria on the development of the world-first, dementia-friendly sensory and forest trail established in Ballarat’s Woowookarung Regional Park.

“I have been privileged to attend several Bigger Hearts events over the years from film launches to community events and most recently in June, I was honoured to be part of the official opening of the Woowookarung Regional Park Dementia-Sensory Trail,” McCabe said.

Tudor said she was initially inspired to support others impacted by dementia because of the positive approach Mayhew adopted after a diagnosis of younger onset dementia.

“Having had the great fortune to meet so many amazing people living with dementia and care partners and others working to support people impacted by dementia, it soon because a labour of love for both of us,” Tudor said.

“Edie shares in this amazing acknowledgment as do so many others in Ballarat and around the world who are committed to making a difference to the lives of those impacted by dementia.”

McCabe said Tudor has been an inspiration to family carers across Australia as she supported her wife throughout her years of advocacy empowering her, as a person living with dementia, to have a voice that was heard, included and influenced change and policy at all levels of government and across the health, aged care and diversity sectors.

“They were both incredibly generous with their time and they were always guided by a drive to help others, now and for generations to come,” McCabe said.

“The legacy of their dedication and advocacy work will have an enormous and lasting impact on the lives of all people living with dementia, their families and carers.

“I have been honoured to spend many treasured moments with both Anne and Edie and I know many advocates, researchers and staff who have known them and always valued their input.”

McCabe said Tudor remains involved, still contributing and making a difference to the lives of people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers.

“Anne is to be commended for her conviction, passion, compassion, empathy and vision, and this award is a wonderful acknowledgment of a contribution that will resonate and influence positive change for generations to come,” she said.

For support, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. An interpreter service is available and the Helpline is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Australian Government. People looking for information can also click here.

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