No one expects a dementia diagnosis at the age of 55. Phil Hazell, an upbeat and successful business development manager, certainly didn’t. 

“For the first two weeks after I’d been diagnosed, I couldn’t make sense of it, even though it explained a lot of things. I tried to just laugh it off, then I really went downhill,” Phil says. 

“I still remember the morning I rang the Alzheimer’s Australia helpline. I hadn’t been able to bring myself to look up dementia online, I just wasn’t up to it, but I thought I could talk to someone so I built up the guts and called the number.”

Phil says calling the helpline was the first positive step he took after receiving his dementia diagnosis.

“They listened to me babble on like an idiot for 40 minutes, which was exactly what I needed. They introduced me to the Younger Onset Dementia Program which made an enormous difference.”

Phil is just one of 413,106 Australians living with dementia. Within 40 years that number will double. 

Not only will the number of people living with dementia rise to more than 1.1 million, the number of people who lose their lives to the disease will also skyrocket. 

As a result, the demand for Alzheimer’s Australia NSW services is increasing urgently every day. It’s only with the generous support of our donors that we’re able to help people with dementia, their carers and family members whose lives are changed forever. 

You can make a difference. 

Your gift helps people like Phil and his wife and carer, Jan, access programs such as our eight-week Younger Onset Dementia Program. 

“It was absolutely amazing,” Jan says of the program. “We could talk with other people who were in exactly the same boat for two hours each week and learn about different tools to help us manage things.”

For Phil, the program helped him rebuild his life. He even trained his own assistance dog, a beautiful young Labrador named Sara. 

“My self-esteem has improved out of sight since getting Sara,” Phil says happily. “I tend to leave my wallet and keys and phone all over the place and when you’re about to go out the door and can’t find something you get super stressed and it’s not good.”

Sara is trained to find Phil’s belongings and bring them straight to him. She also helps Phil catch public transport. 

Sara’s role in Phil’s dementia care goes beyond helping with transport or finding lost items—she’s also an excellent judge of Phil’s emotional health. 

“She’s in tune with exactly how I feel—if I’ve had a bad day, she’ll give me a cuddle by sleeping up around my head and giving me a lick,” Phil explains. 

As well as connecting Phil and Jan with valuable support, Alzheimer’s Australia NSW has also helped the couple manage the daunting process of applying for care entitlements.

“Getting that help with the disability pension paperwork and learning about the NDIS and having Nicole at Alzheimer’s Australia act as an advocate has been extremely positive,” Phil says. 

Though Phil’s determined to live life to the fullest, he still struggles with what the future may hold. 

“My biggest fear is not remembering Jan at some stage,” he says quietly. 

Phil is determined to share his story as widely as possible to raise awareness of younger onset dementia and help others living with the disease.  

“I want to tell my story for as long as I can,” Phil says. “I hope that it helps other people understand what it’s like to live with dementia.”

Your support of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW makes it possible for people like Phil to live well with dementia.

Making that support available to thousands of newly diagnosed Australians depends on your continued generosity as a valued donor. 

Your ongoing support is critical to our ability to provide quality services.

Please show your support for people living with dementia like Phil by giving a gift today.