Ita Buttrose’s brutal assessment of life for pensioners with dementia

If you’re a pensioner and you have dementia, then you might be interested in what Ita Buttrose has to say

If you’re a pensioner and you have dementia, then you might be interested in what Ita Buttrose has to say about your life.

The Alzheimer’s Australia ambassador and media personality has delivered a brutally honest assessment of the situation facing older Australian’s with dementia.

You might be wondering what she said that’s got people talking?

Well, Ita told the National Press Club in Canberra that pensioners with dementia in Australia were “pretty well stuffed”.

“There’s no other way to put it,” she said.

Her comments on World Alzheimer’s Day focused on the aged care sector, with Ita pointing out that the system ignored the fact it’s caring for real people who have the right to a life.

“They’re just in there – they’re cared for, they’re washed, they’re watered, they’re put out there, they gaze out the window, they see nothing much,” she said.

“That’s not good enough.”

The 74-year-old took aim at the Government’s funding cuts to aged care, saying the cuts showed they didn’t understand how to support people with dementia.

She also argued they didn’t understand the realities of aged care.

And if you needed a reason to love her even more, she issued this warning to our politicians.


“Politicians get older too and they also get lonely – we’d like to remind them of that,” she said.

Ita went on to say that dementia sufferers are some of the loneliest people in Australia and that dementia was still considered a terminal medical condition that couldn’t be cured or treated.

“When they’re given the appropriate support, they can, like the rest of us, lead meaningful lives,” she said.

Among the statistics presented by Ita include there are more than 350,000 Australians living with dementia at a cost of $5 billion to the health and aged care system each year.

She also told the crowd it can take up to three years on average to be diagnosed, and the annual cost of dementia will be $83 billion by 2060 unless more is invested in medical research.

What do you think of Ita Buttrose’s comments about dementia? Do you agree with her assessment that pensioners with dementia are “stuffed”?


  1. Jacquie  

    I hope she has caught the attention of the politicians!

    • Joy Anne Bourke  

      Yes agree totally. My stepmother had Dementia and for 8 yrs all u could do is watch her get worse and then eventually passed. At peace.

  2. Helen McHarg  

    Most definitely I agree with Ita.
    Yes pensioners with dementia ARE stuffed when our government has decided to reduce funding for aged care.
    I have always been a great admirer of Ita. She knows what she is talking about & was an excellent Australian of the year. Calls a spade a spade & shows compassion.
    I don’t think I can name many politicians with those attributes which is a pity!

  3. Betty Strauch  

    I agree politicians will inevetable get older just like the rest of us,and undoubtably on the law of averages some of them will suffer from dementia,but because of the generous pensions they retire on they will be doing it in style compared to the majority of the rest of the population.

  4. Stephanie Collins  

    Ita you are so right, cuts to aged care funding are a disgrace! People with dementia are so vulnerable, unable to even let anyone know they need a drink or that they are in pain. This is an area needing MORE funding, not less, as more and more people are diagnosed with dementia. You are a great ambassador for Alzheimer’s Australia Ita, let’s just hope the politicians are listening to you!

  5. Lyn Murray  

    Ita is from old school every thing she says is fact love her go girl

    • Peter Greer  

      Please remember yes pollies get older & richer when they retire or get kicked out of Parliament but ordinary people don’t get richer

    • Ita has brains and common sense and is community minded. Nobody in this government has any one of those skills.

  6. Roslyn Trofa  

    Well said Ita. I have always admired you and now even more. I have a background working in Aged Care and now I train care staff. I find it almost impossible to reassure students that this is a wonderful environment to work when I know damned well that the funding cuts are going to affect the number of staff employed and, in time , the quality of care given to our senior residents. I hope the government wake up to themselves before it is too late.

    • Janice Griffiths  

      The govt won’t wake up as they don’t see they have anything to wake up to

  7. Susan Latchford  

    Thank goodness for people like Ita. These people need a voice and not to be forgotten. This could be any one of us in the future – even politicians and their family. Well done Ita.

  8. KHolston  

    I agree with Ita after witnessing 1st hand with my Dad. The whole system is a disgrace and it fast tracked my Dad’s passing.

  9. KHolston  

    I agree with Ita after witnessing 1st hand with my Dad. The whole system is a disgrace and it fast tracked my Dad’s passing.

  10. June Walker  

    For the last two decades, I and many others have reported the fact that con artists (fraudsters) have been using taxpayer funded Guardianship Tribunals to be placed as ‘guardians or private financial managers’ of people with dementia, mental illnesses, brain injuries etc to financially abuse/exploit these vulnerable people however, like the hierarchy of the churches, the government turns a blind eye and protects these tribunals instead of protecting the vulnerable people who these tribunals are meant to protect.

    It’s time the public became aware of what ‘really goes on’ behind closed guardianship tribunal and public trustee doors. This will show you how unimportant our basic human rights are to both sides of Government.

  11. Nancy Taylor  

    The cuts that this government has made to not only the aged care system but also the disability system is disgraceful. More prominent people need to speak out before the care systems are wrecked completely.

  12. Joy Maylor  

    It’s not just cuts to the Dementia aged care sector. There have been cuts right across the board in aged care which is totally wrong. These people ( including my two parents) are the forgotten people in our society. Because of these cuts many are not being cared for adequately. It’s so wrong. Yes, these politicians will be in aged care one day and some sooner than others. I just hope they have the ability to remember what they endorsed.

    • Kath  

      Its alright for the politicians they get everything when they retire. Bet they dont live on a disability pension when they retire. They live in luxury and probly get the best health care that our taxs pay for.

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