It is with great pleasure that we award Eileen Taylor from Brisbane, Australia the 2023 Richard Taylor Memorial Advocates Award. She was graciously nominated by co-founder, Kate Swaffer.
Although we made this announcement personally to Eileen earlier this week, we are pleased to announce it officially today, on World Alzheimer's Day.
Eileen was diagnosed with a Familial Younger Onset Alzheimer in 2009, aged 59. She was the same age as her father when he was diagnosed with dementia back in the 1980's. Both he and his brother in the UK also died with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 1994. In her professional life prior to her diagnosis, she worked as a social worker, and since her own diagnosis, Eileen has continued serving others through volunteering.
Back then, Alzheimer’s wasn’t really discussed, and we didn’t know how to recognise the signs. Eileen said her Dad struggled to focus and sometimes couldn’t remember what happened the day before. His doctor just put this down to being eccentric and told us there was nothing to really worry about. Throughout his long and distressing struggle with dementia, he regretfully was never told the truth about his illness.
While Eileen says she is now trying to live as positively as possible with dementia, it was very different when she was first diagnosed in 2009. She was becoming a little forgetful, but it was nothing too major, so she didn’t really take too much notice until one day she saw a documentary on TV about the genetic link to dementia.
Eileen has been an active member with DAI almost since it was launched, having served on the board, on multiple committees, and as a long-standing peer-to-peer support group co-host for almost 9 years. She is an especially deserving recipient of the Richard Taylo0r Advocates award, as her commitment to DAI as an organisation, and to our members, has been outstanding, and despite her own dementia and other family challenges, with the support of her very loving husband, also her ‘back up brain’, she continues to serve us all with dedication and love.
Eileen has also served on the Dementia Advisory Committee of DAI’s strategic partner, Dementia Australia, including as Vice Chair, and continues to advocate locally, nationally and through DAI, globally.
Congratulations from us all Eileen!
Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do.