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Families of dementia sufferers struggling to cope

Families of dementia sufferers struggling to cope

Over 12,000 New Zealanders are diagnosed with dementia each year and some families of sufferers are struggling to cope on their own.

Home Instead Senior Care, an organisation dedicated to providing in-home care for the elderly, says it has seen a 25 percent increase in past 12 months in requests from families of Alzheimer’s sufferers asking for additional care to that provided by local District Health Boards. Alzheimer’s is one disease that causes dementia.

Estimates show that by 2026 there will be approximately 74,000 New Zealanders suffering with some form of dementia and this figure will increase again to almost 147,000 by 2050. Dementia is doubling every 20 years worldwide as populations around the world are ageing.

New Zealand is not alone in facing the economic impacts of setting up systems to provide adequate care for those seniors - the mothers, fathers and grandparents who are behind these staggering statistics.

Neil Farnworth of Home Instead Senior Care says at a time when District Health Boards around the country are looking to cut costs, his organisation is concerned to hear that in 2008 the cost associated with caring for dementia sufferers was estimated to be $712.9 million dollars and likely to increase further in the future.

“In reality the government only has a certain amount of funding to distribute around the health sector. Families of dementia sufferers will be one of many groups who will face difficult decisions in looking at options for care for their loved ones, if funding levels are reduced.”

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Mr Farnworth says Home Instead Senior Care has produced a booklet, which has been designed specifically to offer family carers some information and support as they struggle with the day to day challenges associated with providing care for Alzheimer’s sufferers.

“One way we can help, apart from providing personalised in-home care, is to offer families a point of reference which can help them understand that they are not alone. We can also provide tips on how to provide care for the person with the illness as well as making time for carers to care for themselves.”

Copies of the booklet ‘Helping Families Cope’ can be obtained by contacting Home Instead Senior Care or visiting their website to download a free copy.

Home Instead Senior Care is a provider of non-medical home help and services for older people.


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