Lorna Prendergast

Dementia advocate

VICNomineeSenior Australian of the Year2021

In July 2019, 90-year-old Lorna Prendergast made headlines around the world when she graduated from Melbourne University with a master's degree in ageing.

Lorna undertook her study in memory of her late husband Jim, who suffered from dementia. Completing her degree online, she investigated the correlation between music and dementia symptom relief. Then in July 2020, Lorna began a music therapy trial in the dementia wards of East Gippsland’s nursing homes. 

Using her high-profile platform, Lorna received grants for the trial from the local government. She also collaborated with the Rotary Sunrise organisation, to provide each dementia patient in her trial with customisable headphone sets.

Lorna's tenacity and loyalty to her husband's memory is inspiring and unstoppable. As a student, she has inspired Australians in remote regions to gain further education. As a researcher, she has created a deeper understanding about dementia patients’ needs, improving their quality of life and their relationships with carers.