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Training for dementia caregivers expanded

Hon Jo Goodhew

Associate Minister of Health

27 February 2014

Media Statement

Training for dementia caregivers expanded

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew says people living with dementia will benefit as more caregivers have the opportunity to learn about the dementia-sufferer’s perspective.

“The Walking in Another's Shoes programme was developed in Christchurch and trains caregivers working in rest homes and in the community to look at the world through the eyes of the person living with dementia and focus on their individual needs,” says Mrs Goodhew.

So far the programme is running across all South Island DHBs and in Hawke's Bay. DHBs in the lower half of the North Island are considering the programme.

"There has been very positive feedback from caregivers who have done the programme. As a result, many are now reporting greater job satisfaction.

“For example, many had said they have gained a much better understanding of why people living with dementia behave in sometimes challenging ways.

“I have heard a range of stories, including ones where patients were thought to have been displaying threatening behaviour but actually it is just a reflection of a previous sporting or social habit.

“As a result of New Zealand’s ageing population the number of people living with dementia is expected to increase. It is important that we have the right processes in place to support and accommodate our future older population.

"The gradual decline of the mind is an extremely difficult situation for the individual, but also for those around them.

“I applaud the caregivers who have adopted this new way of caring for people living with dementia and encourage others to do the same,” says Mrs Goodhew.

ENDS

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