12 Feb 2011

Hawke's daughter pleads for more dementia research

8:00 pm on 12 February 2011

The daughter of former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke has made an impassioned appeal for more research into the problem of dementia, which has beset her mother Hazel.

Sue Pieters-Hawke says that despite the prevalence of dementia in Australian it is seriously underfunded compared with other diseases and research is needed to identify the risk factors so that it might be avoided.

Speaking at an event announcing $A16 million in funding from the New South Wales Government for research into brain diseases, she spoke of her mother's struggle.

"It's too late for my mum ... what we did was use the best knowledge out there on how to live well with dementia and we're grateful to all the people who built that knowledge," she said.

"But that doesn't eliminate the sadness. What I want is a world where my children aren't going to have the sort of pathway ahead of them if they're diagnosed with this."

Hazel Hawke, 80, is in high-level care for Alzheimer's disease.