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September is World Alzheimer’s Month

September is World Alzheimer’s Month

World Alzheimer's Month is the international campaign every September to raise awareness of and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. World Alzheimer's Month was launched in 2012. World Alzheimer's Day is on 21 September each year. Find more about World Alzheimer’s Month here: www.alzheimers.org.nz

Last year over 70 Alzheimers organisations around the world participated in campaigns focused on advocacy and public awareness.

Alzheimers NZ marks the month each year and has a range of activities planned for this September’s event including:

• The very popular Memory Walks around the country. Media are welcome to take photos.

• The launch of new survey information outlining what Kiwis think and know about dementia. A news release will be issued.

• A project whereby school children around the country are asked to share their family’s experiences of supporting a family member living with dementia. We hope to post many of these stories to the Alzheimers NZ Facebook page.

• A public lecture series involving brain researchers discussing dementia and how it affects people. Media are welcome to attend.

Appointment of Sir Richard Faull as patron of Alzheimers New Zealand

Alzheimers NZ will also announce that well known neuroscientist and researcher into brain diseases, Sir Richard Faull, has accepted the role of patron of Alzheimers New Zealand.

Sir Richard is available for interviews during September by contacting comms@alzheimers.org.nz or by ringing Jody Bowman 022 171 9225. Jody can also provide additional detail on how Alzheimers NZ will celebrate World Alzheimer’s Month.

Action needed urgently: NZ is lagging behind

Dementia is one of New Zealand’s most significant and growing healthcare challenges – there are over 60,000 people with dementia now and we expect that number to almost triple to 170,000 by 2050.

Dementia dramatically changes the lives of people who live with it, including people diagnosed with the condition, their families and communities.

It will have major personal, societal and fiscal impacts in the years ahead.

We cannot afford to do nothing about the rapidly growing dementia challenge that affects two out of three people.

In the UK, US and Sweden it is estimated the health and social care costs for dementia match or exceed the combined costs of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

The total cost of dementia to New Zealand last year was $1.7b and this is expected to sky rocket to nearly $5b (in today’s dollars) in just the next few decades.

Alzheimers NZ is urging our government to urgently implement the NZ Framework for Dementia Care, which the government wrote in 2013 but has yet to fully implement.

Three key initiatives from the Framework are to:

• establish the Navigation function described in that document

• provide post-diagnostic support services for a minimum of 12 months

• provide high quality information sources for people living with dementia

Making changes that keep people well for longer and that delay entry into residential care could achieve cost benefit ratios of 6.6 timers the investment or $6.60 for every $1 invested. More importantly it will enhance the quality of life for people living with dementia and their family and caregivers.

We also want to New Zealand to action the recommendations in the Global Action Plan on dementia. This Plan was adopted recently by the World Health Assembly. Through this plan, the New Zealand Government has committed to undertaking a whole-of-government public health approach to dementia.

It is interesting to note that 30 countries now have dementia strategies or plans – the UK government makes over 50 commitments relating to dementia and in Scotland there are over 30 commitments made – New Zealand has made just two.


ENDS


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