AN Epping man who cares for his wife, who suffers from dementia, has been named the 2017 NSW Carer of the Year.

Epping’s Alan Gravolin was recognised this week for not only for his ongoing dedication to the care of his wife Lynne, who is living with younger onset dementia, but also his support of other carers and his commitment to raising awareness of the condition amongst the community.

Mr Gravolin said he appreciated the award and hopes it will help raise awareness of the role carers play in the community.

“It is an honour to receive this award which recognises the remarkable work of carers,” Mr Gravolin said

“The NSW Carers Awards help to shed light on the important role of carers in the communityand I encourage other carers to reach out and find support.”

Executive Director Consumer Engagement, Policy and Research at Dementia Australia Kale Stokes, said Alan’s story is a wonderful example of the commitment thousands of Australians are currently making to caring for people living with dementia.

“Alan’s determination to ensure his wife Lynne was able to maintain a good quality of life following diagnosis is admirable,” Kale said.

“This commitment meant Lynne was able to remain at homefor as long as possible, before eventually moving into full time residential care.

“Alan has also actively nurtured Lynne’s passion for art, enabling her to continue to enjoy this important aspect of her life.

“Equally, Alan’s work supporting other carers in the community and his willingness to get involved in advocacy work for our organisation in his role as Dementia Advocate are to becommended.”

With an estimated 413,000 people living currently with dementia in Australia – a figure that is expected to grow to more than 1.1 million people by 2056 – Dementia Australia said the incredible work of carers in our community is going to become increasingly important.

“On behalf of everybody at Dementia Australia, I would like to thank Alan and congratulate him on this much deserved recognition,” said Kale.

Outside of his caring role, Alan has been a Lifeline counsellor and a coach in the Stronger Carers program, a support group which aims to equip carers with coping mechanisms and tips to help them manage their role more effectively.

Minister for Disability Services Ray Williams said the NSW Carers Awards aim to recognise the contribution of unpaid carers in the community.

“The NSW Government recognises the efforts of more than 905,000 carers in the State who provide unpaid support to members of our community with disability, chronic illness, mental illness, dementia or frail age,” he said.

NSW Carer of the Year Alan Gravolin of Epping with wife Lynne.