Dementia Australia chief executive officer Maree McCabe has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and the aged care sector.
Ms McCabe is among 1,190 Australians recognised for their service to the community and various industries in the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List and one of 252 appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
The honour is extraordinary and humbling, said Ms McCabe who was appointed CEO of Dementia Australia when it formed in 2017.
“It’s very surreal, and it’s a bit overwhelming. It is an honour and a privilege,” Ms McCabe told Australian Ageing Agenda.
It recognises the work of everyone in Dementia Australia, she said.
“So many people are part of this, and an important thing to acknowledge is that this doesn’t happen on your own. I work for an organisation where people do an extraordinary job,” Ms McCabe said.
Importantly, the honour brings awareness to dementia in aged care, she said.
“It means our work in raising awareness about dementia is acknowledged, that it is now something that is becoming part of the mainstream conversation and part of the conversation to be a core business in aged care,” Ms McCabe said.
Ms McCabe has also been included in the COVID-19 Honour Roll for her contribution to Australia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the establishment of the Aged Care Response Centre.
The COVID-19 Honour Roll recognises individuals for their contribution, service or achievement relating to the pandemic.
Ms McCabe, who began as CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria in 2010, was appointed interim CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia following the merger of state peak bodies ahead of becoming CEO of the current entity Dementia Australia.
Following the honour, Ms McCabe said she hoped to implement Dementia Australia’s Roadmap for Quality Dementia Care in across the aged care sector.
Former aged care CEO Christopher Rigby was also appointed an AM for his service to health and aged care organisations.
Mr Rigby was the inaugural managing director and CEO of aged care provider Catholic Healthcare, which he led for 17 years.
After that Mr Rigby was appointed the CEO of Scalabrini Aged Care in 2011 and later, he became CEO of fellow aged care provider Greengate Group in 2017.
He has also served as a board member, vice president and president of aged care consumer peak body Council on the Ageing Australia from 2011 – 2017.
Catholic Healthcare interim CEO Belinda Moyes congratulated Mr Rigby on the honour.
“A man of many strengths, Mr Rigby instilled in Catholic Healthcare a vision, determination, commitment to faith, and a passion for the respectful, compassionate and excellent care of those in need,” Ms Moyes said.
Seniors advocate Everald Compton is one of 50 Australians appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) this week.
He has been honoured for his distinguished service to the aged welfare sector through advocacy and advisory roles, the Uniting Church in Australia and the community.
Mr Compton was a founding board member of National Seniors Australia, formerly known as Later Years, where he also served as chair from 1985 to 2010.
Mr Compton was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1992.
Dementia advocate Anne Tudor, a member of Dementia Australia’s Dementia Advocates Program, was recognised for her service to people living with dementia and their supporters with a Medal of the Order of Australia.
Queen’s Birthday Honours facts
- 5 people appointed Companions of the Order of Australia (AC)
- 50 people appointed Officers of the Order of Australia (AO)
- 252 people appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
- 640 people awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
View the list of Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Main image: Maree McCabe.