A lack of Government funding for dementia support services means that organisations like Dementia New Zealand are struggling to provide support to everyone impacted by dementia.
 

Dementia New Zealand CEO Paul Sullivan says they are feeling the squeeze with two thirds of New Zealanders affected in some way by dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s – a form of dementia.

“It impacts almost everyone,” he says. “The number of diagnoses in New Zealand is expected to climb from 60,000 to 150,000 by 2050, so it’s likely that everyone will know someone affected by dementia in their lifetime.”

But this isn’t stopping the organisation from increasing its service offerings, with affiliates such as Dementia Auckland now trialling a clinic model to help cope with growing demand.

Affiliates provide services such as one on one support, Cognitive Stimulation Therapy programmes, socialisation activities, carer support groups, carer education and respite care around the country.

As an example, it costs Dementia Auckland on average $600 to support one person with dementia for a year.

“Our local dementia organisations receive more than half their funding from generous members of the public – and a lack of funding means we can’t always provide the much needed services and support for everyone who is impacted in some way by this condition,” says O’Sullivan.

Alzheimers NZ chief executive, Catherine Hall, agrees. Last year, a global dementia report published in the Lancet Neurology presented some alarming facts about the rising incidence of dementia worldwide. Hall says New Zealand is not exempt.

“The number of Kiwis expected to be diagnosed with dementia is expected to triple in the next 30 years.

“Our government needs to make this an urgent health priority right now to avoid the consequences,” says Hall.

This month, Dementia New Zealand is holding two Walk For Dementia events in memory of or in support of someone with dementia, one in Auckland and one in Canterbury, with a goal to raise awareness and much needed funds.

Dementia New Zealand is calling for people to show their support by getting involved with Walk For Dementia at the new Nga Puna Wai sports track in Wigram, Christchurch from 10am – 11.30am on Sunday 17th March and Auckland’s Selwyn Reserve in Mission Bay from 9am to midday on Sunday 24th March.

Banner: hundreds of people took part in last year’s Walk For Dementia at Mission Bay.

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