Former HammondCare chief executive officer Dr Stephen Judd has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his service to people living with dementia.

Dr Judd, who stepped down as CEO of aged care provider HammondCare in August, is among 845 Australians recognised for their service to the community and various sectors in this year’s Australia Day Honours List.

He said he was surprised to be one of 159 people to be honoured with an AM, which recognises people for their service in a particular locality or field of activity, or to a particular group.

“I’ve never been one for the gongs… but I decided that when I was asked if I would accept [the AM], I thought if it gives me an opportunity to take a phone call from… people and talk about the issues [in aged care], I’ll happily do it because that’s an opportunity that might not otherwise come around,” Dr Judd told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Dr Stephen Judd

He said even though he has stepped down from HammondCare, he is still working to improve support for people living with dementia.

“I spent 25 years trying to improve how we support people with dementia and I think there’s still a lot of work to be done. And that’s what I’m going to continue to focus on,” Dr Judd said.

“For me, the issue is continuing to promote the issue of dementia and dementia care at a time when there’s lots of other issues that people are sort of focused on like COVID-19.”

Dr Judd said he is also focused on dementia prevention and identifying the number of Australians who have dementia.

“Just because I stepped down from an operational role at HammondCare doesn’t mean that I’m not going to continue to focus on those things,” Dr Judd said.

Dr Judd said he also has particular interest in the aged and homelessness space.

He has recently written a chapter for a book, which will be released in a year, and he will be working with the Maggie Beer Foundation in the coming month on good food in aged care, he said.

Dr Judd commenced at HammondCare as its director in 1989 – 1994 and took on the role as its CEO in 1995.

He was also a director at Aged Care Services NSW & ACT, now known as Aged and Community Services Australia and founding member and director of Community Council for Australia.

Dr Judd said while he was CEO of HammondCare for 25 years, it is the work of frontline staff who have truly impacted the lives of residents.

“I think the role of a chief executive is pretty simple. You determine what your strategy is, you get the team to execute it and then you communicate what we’re trying to do both internally externally. It’s that simple,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, the people who are really making a difference in people’s lives are the people who are in those cottages and apartments in services or in people’s homes,” he said.

Dr Judd said he is continuing to encourage the sector to improve services in aged care.

“I’d encourage the sector to continue having a crack at things. It’s very easy for the sector to be fixated by compliance with regulators. And too often those regulators have no blooming idea whereas the sector does,” he said.

Other Australia Day honour recipients

Anne Burgess

COTA SA vice president and chair of the SA Policy Council Anne Burgess has also been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to mental health, gender equality and to older persons.

She is also the director of Older Persons Advocacy Network and chair of the Aged Rights Advocacy Service (SA).

COTA SA President Emeritus Professor Anne Edwards said Ms Burgess is “an exceptional consumer advocate.”

“Her work has helped to advance the rights and protect the interests of thousands of older people, women and people experiencing mental illness,” Professor Edwards said.

Dr Patricia Canning was one of 371 people to be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to the community, nursing and to aged care.  

She is the quality advisor and regional quality advisor of Opal Specialist Aged Care in West Australia.

Neil Samuel, from Malvern, Victoria, was awarded an OAM for his service to people living with dementia and the community.

Mr Samuel is a board member of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation and the Dementia Australia Research Foundation in Victoria.

Janice Reu from Hope Valley, South Australia, was awarded an OAM for her service to people living with leukaemia and to seniors.

Her service includes as vice president, committee member and craft group coordinator of Hope Valley Lutheran Homes Inc Retirement Services, where she is also a resident.

Other Australia Day honours facts

  • 4 people were appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)
  • 37 people were appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)
  • 210 awards were appointed to women (36.7 per cent)
  • 249 awards were for outstanding service or achievement in the community (43 per cent).

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